My younger daughter attends a Christian school, and she was given an assignment to journal for a week answering five questions. Her first assignment was over Matthew 25. For extra credit, she could do the journaling with someone else. Of course, I said I’d be happy to do it with her and it turned out to be a useful exercise, so I thought I would share it here.
Question 1: What was the passage about?
Matthew 25 is a long chapter – 46 verses – and covers two different parables and Jesus’s words about Final Judgment. The parables in this section and at the end of chapter 24 deal with wise and foolish servants awaiting the Master’s return. The section I focused on is in Matthew 25:1-13 because I wanted to deconstruct it so I could really understand what Jesus was telling us.
At Jewish weddings in Jesus’s time, after a long period of engagement, the groom and his friends would go the the bride’s house where the marriage would be performed. Then, the bridge and groom would be accompanied back to his house to consummate the marriage and start a week-long feast/celebration. Weddings took place at night, hence the need for lamps.
In the parable, the ten “virgins” (read: unwed friends of the bride or “bridesmaids”) were waiting at the groom’s house to welcome the bridal party. Because they were delayed, the girls fell asleep and their lamps ran out of oil. Half of them had prepared for this eventuality by bringing additional oil, but half had not. The ones with additional oil didn’t have enough to share with the others, so five of the bridesmaids had to scurry around trying to procure oil in the middle of the night. Because of their unpreparedness, they missed the groom and were left out of the feast.
Question 2: Which verse stood out to you?
So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.Matthew 25:13 (NLT)
Question 3: How did this verse make you feel?
The verse serves as a reminder to me that Jesus could return at any time, and we need to be prepared. Each day, we draw one day closer to seeing Him.
Question 4: how are you going to apply it?
The difference between the wise bridesmaids and the foolish ones was in preparation. They knew the groom (bridal party) would be coming, but only some of them had prepared appropriately.
…Readiness, in whatever form it takes, is not something that can be achieved by last-minute adjustment. It depends on long-term provision, and if that has been made, the wise disciple can sleep secure in the knowledge that everything is ready.As quoted in Constable’s Notes on Matthew
This parable got me thinking. What does it mean to be prepared for Jesus’s return? Or, more specifically, how would I live differently today if I knew Jesus was returning tomorrow?
- I’d spend today in prayer.
- I would make sure my family was ready for His return.
- I would want everyone I know to be ready.
But if you can’t prepare last minute, what do I need to do now?
I tend to get overwhelmed when I see the expanse of things that need to be done. I want to pull an ostrich-maneuver until life sorts itself out. But God reminds us if we focus on Him all things will fall into place. So that’s what I need to do: focus on Jesus. Then do what he puts before me. But I need to be prepared for whatever that is, so that means I need to pray and I need to stay in His Word. And, more than that, I need to wait with the expectation that He will put opportunities in front of me to share about Him. I don’t want to miss them because I was distracted or not listening/looking hard enough.
Questions 5: Who did you tell about what you learned?
You, dear reader. So how do you answer these 5 questions based on whatever you read in your Bible today? And if you haven’t read, perhaps you’d like to take a gander at Matthew 25.