Weddings today are usually a grand event, many costing thousands of dollars. Prospective brides spend months, even years, preparing for the big day: reserving a church and a banquet hall, finding the perfect dress, ordering flowers, even creating websites to track their preparations. Often, the couple will send out a save-the-date card, inviting their friends and families to anticipate their marriage with them. Christ’s Second Coming will be the Wedding Day of the church! Today begins the final section of our study, focusing on Christ’s return and eschatology (the study of the “last things”).
Since the church is the bride, then Christ is her Bridegroom. God and Israel were often described this way in the Old Testament, with God as the faithful husband and Israel as a promiscuous wife (see Jer. 3:1–3). We’re living in what could be called the “engagement” period. John the Baptist understood this, as he framed his ministry as being the “best man” (John 3:29). We’re to prepare ourselves for the Wedding Day by doing the righteous acts God gives us an opportunity to do, pictured in Revelation as fine linen to wear (Eph. 2:10; Rev. 19:7–9).
When will the big day come? We don’t know (Matt. 25:13), but Jesus charged us to be ready. In this parable, the five wise virgins brought enough oil for their lamps, but five foolish ones did not (vv. 2–4). When the bridegroom arrived, the call came: “Come out to meet him!” (v. 6). The foolish were unprepared. What were the consequences? Only the first five were allowed to enter the wedding feast with the bridegroom. The lesson? “Keep watch,” meaning that through obedience we should keep ourselves in a state of spiritual readiness “because you do not know the day or the hour” (v. 13). There is no save-the-date card for our Lord’s return!
If you have been married, take a moment to remember how you felt in the days leading up to your wedding. Spend a bit of time reminiscing—recalling the emotions of that day. Then consider the final wedding day in your future, when we will be reunited with Christ, face to face. What a wonderful day that will be!
Lord Jesus, we ask you to guide us and teach us how to be always ready for your return. In our reading today it says, “You do not know the day or the hour,” so show us how to keep enough “oil” in our lamps to be ready for the wedding of the Lamb.