Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins, or bridesmaids, ends happily for five of them but unhappily for the other five. What made the difference? Five were prepared. They brought enough oil for their lamps and were ready when the bridegroom finally arrived. The unprepared five ended up on the wrong side of the banquet hall door (Matt. 25:1–13).
The spiritual lesson of the parable is to be watchful and prepared for the Lord’s return. “Do not forget,” Peter warned (there’s that verb again)! What should we remember (vv. 8–9)? First, the irrelevance of time to God. He works in time but is Himself outside and above time. Second, that God is a faithful promise keeper, no matter how slow the fulfillment of His promises might feel to us. And third, that God’s desire is for “everyone to come to repentance” (v. 9). His “slowness” is actually patient love.
We can be certain that the Day of the Lord will come (vv. 10, 12). How? “Like a thief,” at least for unbelievers. It will be surprising and unwelcome. The apocalypse will find them spiritually unprepared. For those of us who are prepared, however, it will be the coming of the Bridegroom. The great Wedding Day will be here at last!
How then should we live (vv. 11– 13)? The answer is the same as it has been throughout 1 and 2 Peter: “You ought to live holy and godly lives.” How will this “speed” Christ’s return? By obeying God’s kingdom purposes on earth (see also Rom. 11:25), we can in a sense hasten that day. This is not to say we can force God to do anything, but we can act as God has already decreed. In any case, our pursuit of righteousness will end when Christ establishes “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (v. 13).
>> If you knew Christ were coming back tomorrow, what would you do differently today? Don’t wait—make that change sooner rather than later!
Remind us You are coming, Lord. Remind us when we are sunk in despair. Remind us when we are swept away with joy. Remind us when we are sleepy with boredom. You are coming; remind us to prepare!