Can you imagine a bride partying with her bridesmaids but never getting down to plan for the big day when the groom actually comes to marry her? Can you imagine not being ready when the day arrives? This is usually the nightmare of every young bride!
Max Lucado tells a story from ages past about a stately prince and a peasant girl who fall in love. This is really a difficult one to understand. On the one hand is a prince who literally had the world at His disposal. There has never been a more perfect specimen of a man that ever lived. Nothing about Him was common. You wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that He is a perfect catch.
On the other hand there is a peasant girl. She is nothing more than average. At her best she is plain, but at her worst she can be just plain ugly. There are times when she is cranky and moody, and she rarely ever achieves all she could. To look at her from anyone else’s eyes you would never believe she was worth much. But if you could see her through the eyes of the prince, you would believe that she is “to die for.”
Because the prince determined that He couldn’t bear to live without her, he asked her to be His bride. The angels in heaven listened expectantly as she accepted his proposal. The prince promised his bride that He would come back for her soon, and the peasant turned princess pledged to faithfully await his return.
To this point the story could be like any fairy tale, but now the plot takes a bizarre twist. You would expect the bride to be always thinking about the coming wedding, but she rarely ever mentions it. You would think that her every waking moment would be lived out in anticipation and preparation for the coming of her prince.
However, by the way she lives you wouldn’t even know she’s the bride of a perfect prince. More frequently than not, you can’t even tell the difference between the bride and any of the other peasant girls in the village. There are even times when she can be seen flirting with the other men of the village in broad daylight, and who knows what she is doing when nobody is around to see!
Can you imagine a peasant girl fortunate enough to be the object of a perfect prince’s eternal love? You would expect her to be captivated by His love and filled with a sense of wonder that she was fortunate enough to be loved by Him. You would think that she would be careful to remain pure in anticipation of the return of her royal groom. Instead, to look at her you might wonder if she even remembers she is engaged at all. How could a peasant forget about her prince? Is it possible for a bride to forget her groom? (Lucado, When Christ Comes, p. 138)
We read this story and say, “I would never act like that.” But friends, we are the Bride of Christ! As believers, we have been espoused to Jesus Christ and He is coming back for us, and taking us to live with Him forever.
So, why didn’t the peasant girl’s behavior change? Why didn’t she get ready for her Groom?
In order for us to change our behavior, we need a change of heart. When Saul had his encounter on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 it changed his life, his name and his behavior. Until the Bride of Christ has an encounter with Jesus, her behavior won’t change. We have heard, “People don’t change until they hurt enough, they have to, or learn enough they want to.” Pain is a megaphone, but knowledge is a much more pleasant way of learning. Changing behavior because of the knowledge acquired takes time. Thank God, we serve a patient and long-suffering Savior.
Get ready for the Groom. Stay ready! Learn much about The Groom before He comes. If we do, our lives will be transformed and we will know Him when He arrives! Live expectantly. Jesus IS coming back!
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 25:1-13, NLT
Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
“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. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
THINK ABOUT IT…PRAYFULLY
The church has known for two thousand years that Jesus is coming again, and yet many believers have become lethargic and drowsy. They are no longer excited about the soon-coming of the Lord. As a result, there is little effective influencing witness given that the Lord is returning.
“The oil for burning reminds us of the special oil used in the tabernacle services (Ex. 27:20–21). Oil is usually a symbol of the Spirit of God, but I wonder if this particular oil is not also a symbol of the Word of God. The church should be “holding forth the word of life” in this dark and wicked world (Phil. 2:12–16). We need to keep the word of His patience (Rev. 3:10) and keep witnessing of the return of Jesus Christ.” (Wiersbe, Commentator)
“When the bridegroom and bride appeared, half of the bridesmaids were unable to light their lamps because they had no oil. ‘Our lamps are going out!’ they cried. The bridesmaids who had oil were able to light their lamps and keep them shining bright. It was they who entered into the wedding feast and not the foolish girls who had no oil. This suggests that not every professing Christian will enter heaven, for some really have not repented and trusted Jesus Christ sincerely. Without the Spirit of God and the Word of God, there can be no true salvation.” (Wiersbe, Commenator)
Jesus ended this parable with the warning He had preached before: “Watch” (Matt. 24:42; 25:13). This does not mean standing on a mountaintop gazing at the heavens (Acts 1:9–11). It means “to stay awake and be alert” (Matt. 26:38–41).
Keep us awake and alert, fully focused on You, Your Word, and Your Holy Spirit, the “oil” in our lamps, as we learn to walk with You. Keep us from harm and from doing harm to others on their walk with you. Help us to work with each other as your bride to continually prepare, living expectantly for your return.
Thank you, Lord for accepting me into your Kingdom. I am not worthy of all you have done for me. Thank you for your love. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen