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Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
Parable of Jesus. Those tend to give us some trouble. Jesus tells them so that the mystery of the Kingdom is hidden. The parables aren’t just earthly stories with a heavenly meaning that we’re to make for ourselves. The parables aren’t earthly examples so we understand. That flies in the face of why Jesus tells parables! See Matthew 13 for that…
Anyway, all the parables, and it doesn’t matter which one, reveal the mystery of our salvation. That “God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself.” And so today’s Parable, the Parable for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, is all about getting into the party. The eternal party. The marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end.
So, if it’s about getting into the party, what gets you in? And with that question, we then turn this parable, like we do with the rest of the parables, into being about us. Earthly story with a heavenly meaning becomes earthly story with some heavenly work for us to do. But let’s dive into this today. Not just into the parable, but also that question. This parable is about getting into the eternal party of salvation. So, what gets you in?
((2. Being a Virgin does NOT get you in.))
Well, it’s easy to see what doesn’t get you in. Being a virgin, being morally pure, being a good person. Nope. Doing good, being good don’t get you in. Jesus doesn’t say, “There were 10 women, 5 were virgins, 5 were sinners.” No, He says, “There were 10 virgins.” Finally, 5 got in and 5 didn’t, but more on that later.
There isn’t much different between these virgins, at all. They’re all virgins, pure, righteous. They were good people. And it’s not a matter of 5 staying awake and 5 sleeping. (That would be a different parable.) No, here again, they’re all the same. “They ALL became drowsy and slept.” In terms of the what this means, well, it means they all died. Death is sleep in the New Testament. That was laid out in 1 Thessalonians 4 a couple weeks ago.
All 10 also know where the party’s at. They know where the Bridegroom’s house is. They all eventually get there, but again, only 5 get in. But it’s not a matter of what they know, it’s not a matter of what they do. All 10 know where they party is, they all sleep, and they’re all virgins.
So, what sets them apart? Calculation. Measuring. That’s what sets them apart. “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” But don’t try to calculate when that will be. Don’t try to guess when Jesus, the Bridegroom will return. Don’t try to figure out how much oil is enough. That figuring, calculating, measuring is what makes the foolish virgins foolish.
Outwardly they look wise, but they aren’t. It’s worldly wisdom to figure and calculate, estimate, budget, to know when enough is enough. But that’s not wisdom in the kingdom of God. That’s foolishness. And that’s what keeps you out. Foolishness. But being wise gets you in!
((1. Being wise gets you in.))
Yes, being wise gets you in. And this gets us to the Jesus point of this parable. “The wise man builds his house on the Rock.” “Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves.” Those who are wise in the Lord aren’t wise in themselves. Those who are so wise in the Lord are wiser than the evil one, not because of anything in them. They are wise in the Lord through faith in Him. Faith receives Jesus. Jesus Himself is their wisdom. As Paul says, Christ Jesus “became for us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the LORD.”
Jesus isn’t just the Giver, but He’s also the Gift. So it is with the oil. These 5 wise virgins aren’t just outwardly pure, but they are also “innocent as doves” having an over abundance of the Spirit, who appeared at Jesus’ Baptism as a dove. In the Scriptures, oil is a symbol for the Spirit, and the Spirit brings you to Jesus, who is “the light of the world.” Jesus the Light. Jesus the Bridegroom. Jesus the Giver. Jesus the Gift.
The wise don’t calculate. Far from it! The Spirit always has more light for them, and they are wise in that they don’t say, “Enough is enough.” That’s the game, the bet of the spiritually foolish. “There’s always more time, another chance.” But in the end, the spiritually foolish have no way to make up for their calculation, their miscalculation. It’s all taken from them. No oil. No way to share. Do they even get any at all? (Doesn’t seem likely at midnight.) No party. The door is shut.
You’re not that way are you? We would never try to dictate to the Lord, the Spirit, how much of His gifting us enough. The spiritually wise say, “Lord, if you have more and again, I’ll receive more and again.” And the Lord, always the Giver and the Gift, freely and fully gives more of Himself. There’s more oil in just baptism, than you can ever burn up in your short, little lifetime. But the Lord, as is His Way, gives bountifully more, again and again. His store never runs out, and the wise rejoice in the super abundant, never-ending giving of the Lord.
“Those who were ready went into the marriage feast with Him.” “With Him” is the ticket, He made them made ready. Full of His mercy, love, forgiveness. With Him yet more giving, even today, “My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins,” a “foretaste of the wedding feast to come.” It’s all about getting into the marriage feast with Him, and He’s the key. He’s the light. He the Bridgroom. He the Host and the meal today. All Him for you. After all,
ONLY JESUS GETS YOU INTO THE PARTY.
It’s all about getting into the party, the eternal party, the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end. That’s the whole point of this parable. Nothing gets you in but Jesus. ONLY JESUS GETS YOU INTO THE PARTY. “The entered with Him,” with the Bridegroom.
Being a virgin doesn’t get you. Being wise does. The Lord gifts that. His oil. His Spirit. His Light. He is the Light! He the Bridegroom. The foolish had decided for themselves how much was enough, and in the end they lost their Bridegroom who’s the only ticket into the party. “The door is shut.” Outside “is the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
But the made-wise virgins go in with the Bridegroom, their Lord, their Savior, their Wisdom, their Righteousness, their Sanctification, their Redemption. Even you! He is those things FOR YOU. In the parable, the words “too much,” “too often” don’t even enter their minds! If there’s oil to be had, they bring it. They bring it all! They’re wise in the Lord, after all, and it’s not wise to deny the Lord who is Giver and Gift!
ONLY JESUS GETS YOU INTO THE PARTY. He brings you there again today. “Hail! Hosanna! We enter all The Wedding Hall, to eat the Supper at Thy call.” His call, where He says: “Eat up! Drink up! Feast! My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Whoever eats and drinks My flesh and blood, I will resurrect on the Last Day.”
INI + AMEN.