We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/
The Parable of the Ten Virgins (as it is called) is a familiar one, and though some of its key points are subtle, they are powerful. It is unique to Matthew’s Gospel.
The picture of all ten being virgins is meant to let us know that there are those in the visible Church, those among us who profess Christ and to all outward appearances are Christ’s, but who nevertheless are not prepared for His coming and being gathered to Him. In the final analysis, they will prove to be professors only. This is vitally important: Merely being “moral” (symbolized here by all 10 being virgins) is not the same as having the saving righteousness of Christ by faith.
Many are those who have it in their mind that they want and expect the blessings of Heaven. But in truth, some of those do not have the key essential to a good and proper expectation – the indwelling, illuminating Spirit of Christ. They want the joys and the privileges of Christ, but have done nothing to be prepared for His coming and what it means. They have not been born again.
This parable illustrates the same concept as 2 Timothy 3:5 – that there are those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power of true godliness. Only the Spirit can illumine the heart and mind and make us ready for Jesus’ coming. Nothing less or else is sufficient. One may indeed have a lamp that looks like everyone else’s – but if it is empty – we will be lost.
So note 3 things:
1. Those without “oil” have no provision for the long haul – to endure while Christ delays. Indeed, they profess to be those who will celebrate His coming, but they are not prepared for it at all. They are bereft of the central need – union to Him in the Spirit.
2. And when He comes, such provision cannot be gotten from others, you must have it within yourself. The Spirit is not a borrowed commodity. No one else can give you some of the Holy Spirit from themselves. He must be had personally as given by Jesus.
3. Only those who have set their hearts and minds upon receiving Him and being in right condition for that hour will be His. He returns for those who “love His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8), none else.
Now is a good time to ask yourself if you are one who truly loves His appearing, anticipates it with genuine joy, or one who simply owns it as a piece of religious dogma? Is Jesus’ return an authentic and motivating hope? If not, why not? And what are you going to do about it?