Scripture Reference: Matthew 25:1-13
The coming of Christ is often compared to a wedding ceremony in Scripture. The church is symbolized as His bride. Since a marriage is a union that should be marked by tenderness, the deepest love and wholehearted devotion, we can glean an idea of His desired relationship with us through this often-used analogy.
Here Jesus shares the Parable of the Ten Virgins. These ten represent His Bride –the church. The term ‘virgin’ represents the purity of His loved one. We are not considered pure because of our own goodness, but because we have been made so by His shed blood.
Eastern weddings of ancient times were very grand and colourful affairs and was considered with the appropriate solemnity and joyfully shared by the whole community. The weddings were said to take place in the evening, but no one knew for sure when the groom would arrive. He would come from a distance and his coming announced, accompanied by the invitation to all in attendance to go out and meet him. Then all the guests and attendants would run with their lamps and take their places.
If they did not have their lamps when the groom was announced, it was too late to get them and the proceedings would continue without those who were not ready. The groom would then enter the house and immediately after the door would be shut, excluding those who were unprepared from the festivities. The wedding party lasted 7 days in the home of the father of the Bride. After that she was conducted with great ceremony to her new home by her groom.
These ancient customs are practiced still today in some Eastern cultures. They cast a clear light on what Jesus was referring to. His audience listening to Him at that time knew exactly what He was talking about when He said, “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.”
Being unprepared for this great event is considered foolish. Being unprepared for any great event is considered folly, even in today’s impulsive lifestyle. While it is fun to sometimes ‘just do’ something, there are some things that will not work out if we don’t prepare for it. Being prepared at all times is considered wise in the eyes of the Lord and the eyes of most people.
Jesus here speaks of THE event –His coming for His bride. Anyone who does not understand the importance of being prepared at all times for His coming, does not grasp the finality of it.
May the Lord grant us the grace to always grasp the importance of being prepared so that when we hear the call, “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” we will be ready and not caught without the oil of the Spirit, who is our Guide. May we not be of those who are left outside to hear the words, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
- The Bride of Christ (oh-mag.com)
Resource: Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible