“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:1–4, NIV84)
Jesus says, “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like…” At what time? He is referring to the last day. On the last day the bridegroom (Jesus) will come, and the bridesmaids (you and me) who have been waiting for their cue, will jump into action. You see, that’s what bridesmaids do. Their sole purpose is to wait for the wedding to begin and then fulfill their function. Jesus is going to return, and we are the bridesmaids who are ready and waiting. But, could there be a problem?
There was in this parable. This entire parable is about five bridesmaids who must have not understood something and were ill-prepared. They looked like bridesmaids. They had their lamps and they were waiting like the others. But when the time came to light the lamps, they had no oil. They did not have the one thing necessary to make their lamps functional. Outward appearance did not distinguish them from the others. They all looked alike. But there was something wrong on the inside. This is what Jesus is telling us. One of the key characteristics of the kingdom of heaven is God’s divine ability to see into the heart of every man, woman, and child on the planet. He knows our hearts. He sees past the outward appearances that we use to disguise what lies beneath. He has the ability to see what we deny to ourselves and hide from everyone else.
Knowing that we cannot hide anything from God, let us open ourselves up to Him with repentant hearts. Let’s receive the forgiveness He so freely offers, and let’s experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to provide us all we need to be ready for the coming of Jesus. He is the Bridegroom. He provides the invitation and the oil!