So, let's get something straight. The bridegroom showing up is NOT a bad thing! Everybody makes the End of the World and the Last Day some scary, horrible day. But it's not. Think about it. Jesus is the BRIDEGROOM! When He arrives, the party starts. It's like that moment at the wedding reception when you've been waiting for what seems like hours while the couple is out getting pictures all over town. But when they are announced then you know the food will be ready and the party will begin. So Jesus doesn't tell us, "Watch and be ready!" for any other reason than this: He doesn't want you to miss out. The party is ready. He's died for you on Calvary. He rose for you on Easter. He ascended to the right hand of the Father. Now all that remains is for Him to show up and then we'll get this party started. Because life in the resurrection is a celebration that goes on forever. In the resurrection, we celebrate a Savior who has triumphed over death. We're alive! In the resurrection, we celebrate a Savior whose blood set us free from our sins. Sin is gone! In the resurrection, we celebrate a Savior who has destroyed the power of the devil and hell. Every tear is wiped away! In the resurrection, we celebrate the Bridegroom's wedding to us, His holy bride, His spotless church. So never think of this day as a bad day, or a scary day, or a day of terror. It's the start of the party! The feast begins! The Lord shows up. The virgins wake up and they go in to the celebration. Yeah, good times.
So what Jesus doesn't want is for us to be foolish and leave the oil behind so our lamps can't be lit and we have to be running around when He comes. So what's up with these foolish virgins? Here it is nice and simple: the oil is Jesus and His gifts. Jesus' blood and death and resurrection. Faith which trusts in Him. Baptism. Body and Blood. The forgiveness delivered by those gifts and His Word and absolution too. So to have no oil means to have no Jesus. To have left Him and His gifts behind when you die instead of dying in those gifts. All the virgins fell asleep. It's not that they can't keep awake. It's that, when Christ comes and they wake up, the foolish ones are unprepared. They've not remained in the faith. They've ignored and despised the gifts of Jesus and so they are left without any oil. Why would you do that? Jesus has already given you the oil. His water, Word, body and blood. That's what powers your lamp so you recognize Him when He comes again. But where is that oil supplied? Where the gifts are. In the church. So again, making it simple: If you despise His gifts, if you skip out on church, if you don't receive His gifts, then your vessels will be empty and you'll be scrambling on the Last Day. If you don't think you need Jesus now, you won't have Him on the Last Day and we saw what happens: the door is shut and they're left out.
But that's why Jesus tells this parable and that's why I'm preaching on it right now. So you're not unprepared. So you watch! And how do you watch? You just live in Jesus' gifts. He's done all the prep work. You just receive and enjoy His blessings. You've got the wedding invitation. That's the preaching of the Gospel. You've got the wedding garment. That's your baptism. Drake's baptism! You've sampled the feast. That's the Lord's Supper. Now the only thing left is for the Bridegroom to actually show up and kick off the party. And having these gifts means you're not ignorant or foolish like the people St. Paul describes, living for themselves, and being unaware that Jesus is coming back. But even he reminds us that Jesus is not coming back to pound us into dust but to save us. So that gives us something to do until now, namely, encourage one another. That's your job Seth and Paige, for Drake (and Jayden)- to remind them of the oil they have been given, the gifts of Jesus, the salvation He's bestowed on them. And your friends and loved ones who suffer, who are sick, who struggle, who have troubles...your brothers and sisters in Christ--look around! Encourage each other with this Good News: Christ is coming back! He died. He rose. Everything is going to work out just fine. He's got this. We may have to wait for a little while, but then He'll be back. New heavens. New earth. And then that celebration will start and never stop. So, wake up! The night is flying! It's almost over! The Bridegroom is almost here! Trim your lamps and out we go to meet Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Sermon Topics: Matthew