v1-13 - The parable of the ten virgins is a picture of Christ, the bridegroom, returning for His bride, which is the Church.
The people who make up the Church will either be ready for Him or not. Notice there's no middle ground.
Christ will have no patience for those who are not ready for Him upon His sudden and surprising return.
v14-30 - The story of the three servants becomes much easier to interpret once you understand that the bags of gold are a metaphor for the grace God has given to you. The older translations refer to this as 'talents,' which is a unit of measure, not abilities as we understand the word 'talent.'
God gives even more grace to those who respond to the grace they've been given.
Once again, notice how swift and terrible the reaction will be to those who've ignored the grace God has shown to them.
v31-46 - There are only two types of people: sheep or goats. Yet again, in God's eyes, there is no middle ground, and the judgment the goats receive is swift, terrible and eternal (v41).
One of my favorite aspects of the parable of the sheep and goats is that the sheep haven't got a clue that they did all of those things for Jesus.
 “Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you
hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you something to drink?
The sheep were just passively reflecting the grace God had shown to them without even knowing it:
 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you,
whatever you did
for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’
Isn't it ironic that God very likely isn't all that impressed with concerted efforts you may be making to please Him. But at the same time, if you are living a life of gratitude in response to grace, then it's quite likely that you don't even know you've done the most impressive thing you've done in life!
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— Most of the words in this chapter were spoken when Jesus and His disciples were sitting in a particular location. Where was it, and what do you know about this place? (See verse 3.)
Look at the statement Jesus makes in verse 36. What difference in your life do you think it would make if you did know the exact day or hour when Jesus will return?
Thomas, Mack. The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our master who is a hard man (v24-26). Although God is hard (in that He expects His will to be done), He is also full of grace and mercy.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will equip you to feed the hungry & thirsty, clothe the naked, invite in the stranger, care for the sick, visit the lonely (v35-36).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: