OceanSide church of Christ

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Part of the series: PARABLES OF JESUS
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Matthew 25:1-13

Victor M. Eskew




A.   In the days of Jesus, weddings were a “big deal.”  The marriage between a husband and wife involved several years and went through three stages.

1.     The Arrangement:  Most marriages were arranged by the parents.  This could begin very early in the life of a child.

2.     The Betrothal:  At this time a dowry was paid by the man to the wife’s parents and vows were exchanged.  The woman, however, continued to remain in the home of her parents.

3.     The Feast:  The families carried out a large celebration and the woman would leave to be with her husband.


B.    The parable of our study centers upon the last phase of the process, the wedding feast. 

1.     The parable is known as “The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.”

2.     Matthew is the only gospel writer to record this parable.  It is found in Matthew 25:1-13.

3.     Ten virgins are awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom so they can follow him to the wedding feast.


I.           THE DESCRIPTION OF THE VIRGINS (Matt. 25:1-4)


Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.


A.   The background of this parable is found in Matthew 24.  Jesus contrasts the Fall of Jerusalem with the Second Coming.

1.     The Fall of Jerusalem would come with signs.

2.     The Second Coming of Christ would not have any signs announcing its arrival.

3.     Jesus’ exhortation, therefore, is to watch, to be ready, to be prepared.

a.     Matthew 24:42


Watch therefore:  for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.


b.    Matthew 24:44


Therefore be ye also ready:  for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.


B.    The parable of the ten virgins is an extension of this admonition.

1.     The bridegroom was coming to go to the wedding feast.

2.     Ten virgins went out to meet him.

a.     Five were wise; five were foolish.

b.    Five were prepared; five were unprepared.

c.    Five had sufficient oil; five had insufficient oil.


C.   Application:

1.     Christians are sometimes referred to as “virgins” because of our purity in Christ Jesus.

a.     II Corinthians 11:2


For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy:  for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin unto Christ.


b.    The 144,000 of Revelation 14:3-4, esp. v. 4


These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.  These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.  These were the redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.


2.     We are supposed to be watching for the coming of the bridegroom.

a.     Jesus said:  I will come again (John 14:3).

b.    The angels promised His return to the apostles (Acts 1:10-11).


And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.


3.     Right now, we fall into one of two categories.  Either we are wise, or, we are foolish.

a.     NOTE:  we have a part to play in our salvation.

b.    We need to make certain that we have sufficient oil with us.

1)     The oil of basic service

2)     The oil of full service

3)     The oil of morality

4)     The oil of knowledge

5)     The oil of fruit-bearing

6)     The oil of Christian growth

7)     The oil of good relationships

8)     The oil of good works

c.    Which category describes you?  Wise?  Or, foolish?




While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.


A.   So many today are focused upon the idea that “Jesus is coming soon.”

1.     Not one man knows this for certain.

2.     This parable teaches that the bridegroom’s coming was delayed. 

3.     If we do not know that Jesus is coming soon, why do we sing the song that so emphatically declares:  “Jesus is coming soon”?


B.    NOTE:  Whether He comes soon, or, in thousands of years from now, He is coming (II Pet. 3:9-10).


The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuf-fering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…




Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you:  but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for your-selves.  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:  and the door was shut.


A.   The foolish virgins experienced several difficulties.

1.     Their lamps had gone out.

2.     They did not have any oil.

3.     The wise would not give them any of their oil.

4.     They had to go buy oil from those who sold it.

5.     The bridegroom came while they were away.

6.     The door to the house was shut.


B.    These difficulties were experienced because they were not sufficiently prepared.


C.   LESSON:  These virgins are like unto “nominal” Christians or “lukewarm” Christ-ians.

1.     Some effort was manifested.

a.     They were looking for the bridegroom.

b.    They did initially bring their lamps.

2.     They did not do all they could to prepare for his coming.

3.     Can you honestly say that you are doing all you can to prepare for the bride-groom’s coming?


D.   LESSON:  When the announcement is made that the bridegroom is coming, it will be too late to grow, to overcome sin, to bear fruit, to fulfill your role in the body of Christ, or to take on the image of Christ.


E.    Before we leave these verses, let’s be reminded of something positive that is said:  …and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage…

1.     Efforts to prepare for the Lord’s return will be rewarded.

2.     There is a joyful side to the Lord’s return.  Those who are ready will enter into the marriage celebration of the bridegroom.




Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.


A.   Here we see another major contrast between the wise and foolish virgins.

1.     The wise entered into the marriage celebration.

2.     The foolish were excluded from the celebration.


B.    The foolish virgins “thought” they knew the bridegroom.  He, however, did not know them.

1.     A casual acquaintance is not a true relationship with Jesus.

2.     Our Lord knows those who are His and those who are not (II Tim. 1:9).


Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.  And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.


V.          THE DOCTRINE OF PREPARATION (Matt. 25:13)


Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.


A.   Luke 21:34-36


And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.   For as a snare shall it come upon on that dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.


B.    Romans 13:11-14


And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:  for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying:  but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.




A.   Wise? Or, foolish?  Entrance?  Or, exclusion?


B.    LESSON:  Others cannot prepare for you (Ps. 49:7; Prov. 9:12; Gal. 6:5).


For every man shall bear his own burden.


C.   It would be hard to imagine that we think we know the bridegroom and cry out to Him to open, only to hear the words:  I know you not.