2021_03_31 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Matthew 25
As Kim Feld talked about in her post Monday, Jesus is explaining that His followers are to be patiently waiting in a state of readiness for what God is, and will be, doing. To illustrate this He uses parables, which are stories that are designed to underscore a main point or idea. Unlike allegories, these stories generally have a single main point, rather than each element of the story having an alternative meaning. For instance, chapter 25 starts with, “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids* who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.” (vs 1-4)
This story is using the picture of a wedding celebration to paint a picture of an important reality in God’s kingdom that Jesus wants all of His followers to understand. Like those invited to be a part of the wedding events, we all need to recognize the opportunity and be prepared. The five who didn’t take the time, or effort, to bring additional oil were operating out of convenience, and not firm commitment. Their lack of preparation indicated they were distracted by other things, not making the wedding a priority, and their consequence was not being allowed to attend. There is no reason to try to find or manufacture hidden or “secret” meanings in it because at the end Jesus makes His point clear, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” (vs 13).
Using a culturally common occasion like a wedding, and adding the seemingly harsh treatment of locking out the five who were late, was meant to get the listener’s attention. The bottom line is that God is at work right now, and we need to stay in an attitude of readiness. None of us know how much time we have left, and to let ourselves be distracted is a sign that God isn’t our first and most important priority.
* 25:1 Or virgins; also in 25:7, 11.