Everyone likes a good wedding–whether the theme is traditional, western or no theme at all. Jesus knew that when he gathered his disciples and told the story found in Matthew 25. In those days the wedding centered around the bridegroom. He came to the bride’s home to pick her up. Her bridesmaids waited with her so they would not miss being included. Quite a switch from today’s world where bridegrooms, at least some, feel it’s just their job to show up. What I’d never thought about–this story is really about Jesus coming back for his bride–the church. We are all just attendants waiting with the church.
As attendants we all carry oil lamps–a bit different from the bouquets of today. Jesus described to his disciples that it was a big affair–10 attendants, and went on to say, “Five are wise–five foolish. The wise attendants carried extra oil for their lamps; the foolish ran out of oil to keep their lamps burning and had to go buy more. They missed the wedding. Where do you and I fit into this wedding scene–are we the wise or the foolish? If the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit, do we have enough knowledge and relationship with God to be included when Jesus chooses to return? Don’t think for a minute that anyone besides the Lord knows when that will be–none of us do. It started me thinking. . .how much of the Bible can I claim as mine; what does God think of my worship; how does he feel about the prayers I do or don’t pray?
This ‘oil business’ may be the most significant part of this parable. The foolish begged the wise for some oil. I don’t think it was because the wise didn’t want to share–I think the indication is that each of us is on our own to gain biblical knowledge plus realize that we individually must establish our own relationship with God–no one else can do it for us. Could Jesus be saying to us–“Time is short, don’t let the busyness of life get in the way of learning all you can about me through the Bible, the church and prayer?”
‘Oh now , where is my Bible–is it gathering dust?’ ‘Oh my where does the Lord find me worshipping?’ ‘O my, have I been praying only I need help?’
Could your lamp use some extra oil? Mine needs extra, I’m sure. And I don’t want to miss the wedding.