““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. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
To illustrate his commands to "be alert" (24:42) and "be ready" (24:44) for his second coming, Jesus offers another parable. The kingdom of heaven is compared to ten virgins and their waiting for the bridegroom. The kingdom of heaven broke through in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells a wedding parable about ten virgins. These women are similar to modern-day bridesmaids, and they would accompany the bride to the bridegroom's home. Half of these maidens make preparation, and half do not. The bridegroom is delayed, and so these young women sleep. At midnight, the bridegroom arrives, and they are awakened quickly by a cry of urgency that he has arrived. The maidens that had acted wisely were prepared, but those that were not prepared asked for assistance. The women who were not ready went in search of oil and missed the bridegroom's arrival. By the time they figured it out, it was too late, and they were left out of the feast. This parable reminds people that the coming of Christ will be sudden, and no one knows the exact hour of his return. Therefore, it is advised to stay alert and be ready for his coming.
Jesus provides the third and final parable of the set to demonstrate his commands to "be alert" (24:42) and "be ready" (24:44) for his return. In the parable of the talents, the master entrusts his servants with his property to watch over in his absence. Two of the servants are rewarded for being faithful, while the one who was not is punished. This servant attempts to justify his laziness by claiming that it was the master's right to give as he saw fit and to do business in a foreign land. However, this parable conveys an important lesson; that everything we have belongs to the master, and we have to use it wisely as we live for the future.
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