WHEN JESUS RETURNS
Wait and Work Until Christ’s return
Jerry A. Collins
ØWhat is the purpose of a parable?
What is the message of the 10 virgins and talents?
How do these parables relate to the second coming of Jesus?
Weddings never go out of style. Each one is fresh and exciting as a new beginning takes place watching the two lives determine to become one. At most weddings a lot of fuss is made over the bride and groom but hardly any attention to the attendants. Not so here with Jesus. He chooses to use a wedding scene to illustrate what He means by the command to ‘watch’. Not even mentioning the bride or groom His attention is focused on the ten young maidens invited to the wedding. The parable unfolds in 5 movements.
1. A COMMON EXPECTATION
Here people are waiting for someone. Life seems to be made up of a lot of waiting doesn’t it? When little cannot wait to get big. When in school cannot wait to get out. When in love cannot wait to get married. When married cannot wait to have children. While living our lives we always want to be living for something beyond, something worth living for. These maidens were waiting for the bridegroom, the coming of Jesus Christ. They are hopeful that his coming will be very soon. We share this expectation with them.
2. A DIFFERENCE IN PREPARATION Though a common expectation quite different in the way they wait. 5 have brot extra oil and 5 have not. 5 are wise and 5 are foolish. They were all agreed on the importance of oil and were using it for giving light but some felt more was needed than others. These groups are still with us. Despite agreements about the bridegroom to come, in the end some will prove wise and some foolish lacking whats essential for waiting until He returns. Everything might have gone well in spite of the differences in amount of oil if the bridegroom arrived as expected. But the next movement introduces delay.
3. THE BRIDEGROOM DELAYED
Here is a hint that the Lords absence is extended and protracted. This invited an unexpected demand for more oil. In the meantime, all ten grew drowsy waiting, like we do in a doctors office, and fell fast asleep. This was only natural. Watching for the bridegroom also mallows time for normal activities. Money must be earned, food cooked, babies washed, homework completed, weddings attended, funerals visited, all the usual activities of life must go on. These maidens thots were diverted by all of this tho they were still in a ready state for the bridegrooms return. Indeed at midnight, when people are typically deep in sleep, unexpected, a shout of warning says ‘behold the bridegroom. Come out to meet him’. They are awakened in time to meet him with their lamps prepared.
4. CRISIS OF INADEQUATE OIL
The foolish maidens lamps are flickering, about to go out. The long delay has used up their oil and they have no more. They appeal to the others for some but there is not enough to borrow or loan. So they go to buy some more. While searching they miss the arrival of the bridegroom. They had ample opportunity to be completely prepared for His arrival. Nothing could excuse their failure to be prepared.
5. THE FOOLISH DENIED ACCESS When they return the door is shut. The Lord denied their request that the door be opened for them. He said ‘I do not know you’. There was simply no more opportunity. The pretense was over and they are unprepared. These words are an honest revelation of something that had been true all along. Weddings are no place for strangers. Only friends and family are permitted to attend. It was the lack of a supply of oil which caused these to hear these words. Oil is frequently a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Some ministry of the Holy Spirit is in view here. Just as one person cannot transfer his physical life to another, even tho many times someone may have wished it possible, neither can we transfer spiritual life to another. There is a day of reckoning for everyone of us. Specifically, Jesus is referring to those at the end of the Tribulation who in spite of all the signs were still unprepared for His return. They cannot enter into His kingdom then (vs 1). Ill-prepared
they are shut out only to await their final judgment at the great white throne of God. It reminds me of what it must have been like when the people in Noah’s day saw the flood waters rising above their heads and knew that the door of the ark was against them. Unbelievers facing God at death in any period of history will at that moment have the opportunity for salvation pass by and be lost forever! So Jesus, says for the fifth time in this discourse (24:36, 42, 44, 50) Be on the alert for you do not know the day nor the hour. Jesus tells those alive during the last days of the tribulation to be prepared so that they will not be excluded from the kingdom He is establishing when he returns. It is essential to be prepared for Christ’s return not only by watching for it but also serving Him while He is away.
1. OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE OUR ABSENT LORD Like the servants in the parable we all have abilities that produce opportunity to serve the interests of our Lord. Instead of sitting back in idleness until he returns, we are responsible for handling the assets, our God-given abilities and the opportunities they produce, for His benefit and His and ours profit! 2 of these servants were diligent in investing theirs and the third failed to bring a return but wanted to be able to keep the talent he received for himself.
2. AN ACCOUNTING OF SERVICE Again the idea of a protracted absence is introduced. But a day of reckoning is inevitable and the first 2 are equally rewarded with additional wealth, responsibilities and sharing of the masters joy. The last servant makes no investment and lets opportunity pass him by. This servant gained nothing because he risked nothing. He lacked faith in his master and proved to be a worthless servant. The point here is that fruitfulness is evidence of faithfulness. This unfruitful slave appears to be an unbeliever from vs 30 being cast out into outer darkness where weeping and knashing teeth. Fruitfulness then is defined by reproduction since they reproduced double the original investment of the Lord. The amount of reproduction depends upon what is given to the slave in the first place. What matters is the fact of reproduction for the Lord who gave it. There is no evidence of salvation for someone who sits and does nothing reproductive with their faith.
1. God determines our level of wealth on earth and we can determine ours in heaven. The slaves were given their abilities and opportunities by God. We are given the resoponsibility to do something reproductive with it for him!
2. As followers of Christ we are servants. A servant does not seek his own but that which is another’s. So serve in such a way that you only desire recognition from God.
3. A faithjful servant takes initiative and assumes ownership not waiting for others to tell you what to do but rather willing to pay the price to be all God desires.