“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins…”
At face value the Parable is easy to remember. Where there’s a lamp, there’s light. If the lamp’s dead, no light. No oil, no light—foolish virgins. Wise virgins—more oil, light forever. At the beginning, though, they all look the same. They’re all virgins. The foolish look just like the wise.
Now, being wise isn’t knowing things. It’s not knowing the books. Being wise is demonstrated and seen by how you live your life. Virgins are virgins based on action not mindset. “The wise man builds his house upon the rock.” Worldly wisdom, street smarts, often outweigh book smarts. Biblical wisdom, on the other hand, is having no other trust or confidence except in the Lord.
So, easy parable, right? Be wise, be saved. Be unwise, get locked out. Better figure the best way to use your life or you’ll lose it. After all, “watch therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
((2. When we calculate, there’s never enough.))
When it comes to those foolish virgins, they actually look wiser than the wise virgins. “Why take so much extra oil, after all? There’s no need to spend more than necessary.” The proof that they really were foolish is only made clear when all ten are awakened from their sleep.
They are shown to be foolish virgins because they have no oil, and they don’t have any oil because they didn’t bring any. They hadn’t figured on the Lord’s delay. When they calculated what they thought they needed, they’d forgotten that it’s the Lord’s show, His Wedding Feast. He comes when He means to, and no one knows that, can know that, except Him.
What the foolish virgins do in preparing for the wedding feast, makes sense to us. Making calculations, predictions, estimates, is what we do every day of our lives. What to buy, when to buy, how much can you afford. Grain prices. Loan terms. When is the assignment due? When’s the trip? How long will it take? Our lives are chock full of our own dreams and plans for how our lives should be lived.
That’s all fine as far as it goes. You need to do that sort of stuff so that you’re better able to love and serve those around you. The danger comes when we calculate about Lord’s coming and His Wedding Feast. When it comes to the Lord, any plan or calculation we make comes up empty and short.
But wisdom, when it comes to the Lord’s coming, isn’t knowledge. It’s not the answers you keep stored up from confirmation classes, which get paraded about in our endless calculation. The foolish thought they had “enough.” We live our lives figuring out, calculating when enough is enough. When we’ve got enough stuff. When we’ve gotten enough of the Lord Himself, too, and His Word, His Gifts. That’s unfaith, unbelief.
The Lord’s giving out His Word and Gifts is not forced upon you. You can reject Him and His Gifts. But His final judgment cannot be calculated away, avoided, or rejected. There’s no way to make up for an unfaithful calculation. “The door was shut. ‘I do not know you.’”
It’s all the Lord’s show. He’s the Lord, He’s the Bridegroom, after all. He determines when enough is enough. Even to His own “life and bitter sufferings and death.” All our calculations die there at Calvary. His Calvary calculation is sure—“It is finished.” His promises are certain, too. In fact, more certain than anything we plan, is the Awakening at the Lord’s second coming.
((1. When the Lord calculates, there’s always more.))
In the meantime, He’s already made plans. He’s made arrangements. He’s calculated. When the Lord Jesus calculates, there’s always more! There’s no end to Jesus’ “more.” He determines what is best for you. That His Word and His Spirit-filled Gifts should be showered upon you until you sleep. The wise didn’t just have enough oil, they had more!
The wise virgins lived their lives completely toward their coming Bridegroom. Everything was trusting that He would come, and when He would was actually up to Him. He’s the Lord, not you. Everything hangs upon the Lord, and He doesn’t say, “That’s it. That’s enough.” With Jesus there’s always more! More forgiveness. More promise. More life. More Gift.
He is the Light of the World. Jesus is the reason that the God’s Word is Lamp to your feet and a light to your path. He gives you of His own oil, the Holy Spirit. The gifting of the Spirit is portrayed in the Scriptures with anointing with oil. You are anointed—baptized! More oil given there than you can ever manage to burn up in your little lifetime. Still more gifts today. Absolution. Body and blood. What’s enough? Jesus just gives. Himself for you.
“Watch therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour.” True words. Jesus knows. He knows that day, and He doesn’t tell this parable to show you how much more you need to do. That’s the way of calculation and plan. If we set up the plan, then we can be in charge of when enough is enough. He doesn’t tell it so you can calculate if you’re wise or foolish, or wiser than you were or wiser than others are. Any calculation comes up empty.
YOUR CALCULATIONS DON’T SAVE YOU, JESUS DOES.
So, easy parable, right? Be wise, be saved. Be unwise, get locked out. Better figure the best way to use your life or you’ll lose it. After all, “watch therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Hardly! Jesus saves you. He’s the Lord, not you. He’s Lord today, saving you today. He’s Lord at the Awakening, too.
The Lord tells this parable to show us yet again this truth: He saves us. He tells us this parable not to show us how much more we need to do, but how much more we need Him. After all, YOUR CALCULATIONS DON’T SAVE YOU, JESUS DOES.
What we need, He gives. Not just enough. More than enough! His life in your place. His waking up from death. His Baptism. His preaching and Word and Absolution and His body and blood. More and more and more! Enough is never enough for Jesus until He wakes you up, to bring you into His Marriage Feast, which has no end. As we just sang, “We enter all the wedding hall To eat the Supper at Your call,” it’s a feast we join in today.