WEDDING CRASHERS NOT ALLOWED: The parable of the ten virgins continues the same end times theme (or one could say, as we learned yesterday: eschatological) that was present in chapter 24. In this parable, five would be wedding guests are left out in the cold because they were not ready when the bridegroom showed up at a surprising time. Jesus comes to the same conclusion that appeared twice in chapter 24:
Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (v13).
GRACE, NOT GOLD: The story of the three servants becomes much easier to interpret once you understand that the bags of gold are an allegory 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.'
ONLY TWO CHOICES: We live in a society in love with gray as opposed to seeing things as either all black or all white. Indeed there are lots of topics that we should use sanctified wisdom to nuance and allow that others may see things in shades that do not appear to us. But today's three parables make clear that salvation is not a gray area: either you'll be ready for Christ's return, or you won't; either you'll have born fruit in response to God's grace, or you won't; either you'll be a sheep or a goat. Jesus presents three illustrations of people responding in bitter disappointment: five maidens who beg to come into the wedding hall; a servant who ignored the grace he was given and is thrown outside; and goats who had all sorts of chances to respond to Christ but who are now led to eternal punishment. Jesus is full of grace and mercy, but He is also full of justice, and these parables show the day will come when His offer of grace comes to an end, and those who spurned that offer will then have to face His unmitigated wrath.
I DID WHAT?? 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. They were just passively reflecting the grace God had shown to them. 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!
AAA Prayer Tips:
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: