The moment I read one of the questions posted on my web site by a lady who wanted some clarity regarding one of Jesus’ parables found in Matthew Chapter 25, called the Parable of the Ten Virgins, I knew that I should write an entire article on the subject. I preach on it often and it comes up in almost every one of my sermons. I consider it THAT important because Jesus did not prophecy very often during His ministry on earth. So when He does give a glimpse into future events, we should really pay extra attention.
The virgins in this parable are awaiting and preparing for the arrival of the bridegroom. They are getting ready to participate in a wedding feast, which according to Jewish culture usually lasted an entire week. They are clearly a picture of the ‘church’ or the ‘Bride of Christ’, who are commonly referred to as Christians and who are preparing to sit down with their Bridegroom, Jesus, at the ‘Marriage Supper of the Lamb’.
These virgins are carrying lamps which are filled with oil. Since light is an expression of God’s presence, the lamps are symbolic of vessels that are carrying His presence. Once we become a Christian our bodies become ‘temples of the Holy Ghost’ (I Cor. 6:19 KJV) and oil has represented the Holy Spirit and the anointing of the Holy Spirit throughout the Old and New Testaments. Without oil, the lamps are useless. Without the Holy Spirit a person cannot be the ‘light of the world’. It is the Holy Spirit within a person that causes them to shine just as oil causes a lamp to glow. So Christians are encouraged to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The word ‘filled’ in this instance is actually a verb expressing an ongoing activity, not a one-time event.
In this parable Jesus teaches that we are responsible for our own spiritual condition and cannot be incumbent on others, and that we need to be prepared for His return. He then states that five of these virgins were foolish. They were NOT prepared. They did not bring enough oil to replenish their supply and did not have enough to trim their lamps, since He, the bridegroom did not arrive until the midnight hour. By this time their oil had run dry and their lights had gone out. They missed his arrival. The door was then closed, never to open again. It was too late. They could not enter in. They could not go to Him.
Jesus, in His own words, prophecies that five out of ten... that means half, that means 50%...that means one out of every two Christians are going to miss His return. That’s a staggering percentage! They are not going to be part of the bridal party. They are going to miss the wedding. They are going to miss the feast.
Let me interject right here that this shocking statistic does not give us license to go on a witch hunt trying to figure out who is the wise and who is the foolish down at the local church. The purpose of this warning is to cause us to examine our own spiritual condition. It should cause us to check to see if our light is shining brightly in the darkness and if we are fulfilling our mandate from God which is to ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:15) Or, is it possible that we have become foolish and our light has gone out? The odds of that happening are so tremendously high that it bears serious consideration.
If we ARE filled with the spirit of God, it will show. It will be apparent to all. A perfect example is a story that I heard the former Miss America, Cheryl Prewitt Salem share in a kind of dual, tag-team sermon with her husband Harry. They described a cross-country flight that was booked to capacity so that they ended up seated rows from each other. It didn’t bother her one bit because she curled right up with a blanket and pillow and was fast asleep within minutes. Her husband on the other hand sat anticipating that the passenger seated next to her would exchange seats with him if he stared at him long enough. He soon became alarmed when he noticed this passenger leaning into Cheryl’s face. He kept getting closer and closer as if he intended to kiss her. Harry’s first impulse was to storm down the aisle and scream, "What do you think you’re doing" but he remembered that he was an Arab and that he was on an airplane and that it was not a good idea for an Arab to be running and yelling on an airplane in this day and age.
The man, who was now less than three inches from Cheryl’s nose was peering so intently that it woke her up. At that very moment he then screams loud enough for everyone on the plane to hear, "WHO ARE YOU?" Startled and still groggy from sleep, she can’t think. She doesn’t know who she is or where she is but manages to finally compose herself enough to say, "I’m Cheryl Salem!" The man then yells, "There’s light coming out of you and you’re glowing!" Now fully awake she replied in that humble and modest way that she always does, "Oh that’s not ME, that’s God inside of me!"
I have met this lady. I’ve interacted with this lady. Her life impacted me so dramatically that I wrote about it in a previous article entitled, "A Crown of Glory that Fadeth Not Away" (it’s number 39 on my web site). I can state emphatically, "Yes, it’s absolutely true, she DOES glow!" I’m not surprised to hear that she even glows in her sleep.
I can also state emphatically that Christ EXPECTS His followers to be shining and radiating His light! Whether we do or not, is not dependent upon whether or not we call ourselves ‘Christians’, but on whether or not He truly lives inside our heart.