We’re studying through the Gospel of Matthew on Sunday mornings. For the last few weeks, we’ve been studying Matthew 24, where Jesus answers the apostles’ questions about the destruction of the temple and Jesus’ return.
Next Sunday, we begin chapter 25. Although I’m not scheduled to teach, I’m continuing to study and read. This is the first section from Matthew 25:
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-12 ESV)
While its obvious that this parable refers to a wedding, there are many aspects of the parable that seem strange to us. Today’s weddings do not include a procession of virgins or oil lamps. We do not trim lamps nor do we wait for the bridegroom to arrive. These aspects of the parable often lead to weird interpretations because we don’t understand that they were simply part of the culture at that time.
I’ve attempted to modernize the parable while keeping Jesus’ point. This is my modernized version of the parable of the ten virgins:
The kingdom of heaven will be like ten wedding groomsmen and bridesmaids who were waiting for the bride and groom to finish taking pictures so they could all ride to the reception together in the wedding party’s limousine. Five of the people in the wedding party were foolish and found a quiet spot in the back of the wedding chapel to rest. Five of the wedding party were wise and stayed near the limo. When the photographer took longer than expected to complete the wedding photos of the bride and groom, the attendants began chatting and napping. Suddenly, the bride and groom ran out of the chapel and jumped into the waiting limousine. The five wise bridesmaids and groomsmen jumped into the limo with the bride and groom just as the driver sped off toward the reception. When they five foolish people in the wedding party heard the limousine speed off, they ran out of the chapel just in time to see the car turn the corner two blocks down. They had missed the reception! Therefore, be ready! You do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return.
What do you think?