According to the Bible Encyclopedia, Luke recorded 24 parables of Jesus, and 18 of these can only be found in his writings. Matthew, on the other hand, contained 23 parables in which 11 are unique. The Gospel according to Mark recorded 8 parables in which two cannot be found in other Synoptic Gospels. John did not record any parables of Jesus.
One of the parables found in Matthew is called the Parable of the Ten Virgins which is found in Matthew 25:1-13.
This parable raises some questions like why were 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom. Where is the bride? Is one of the virgins the bride?
According to the Jewish custom during that time, the bridegroom must get the bride in her home. Then there will be a celebration. Afterwards, the entourage will go to the bridegroom’s home for a grander celebration. There will be a procession in the streets along the way and this is usually during nighttime. Everyone who were invited are expected to bring their own lamp that uses olive oil as the fuel.
So the 10 virgins were not the bride-to-be but part of the entourage that were waiting for the procession in the streets that will go to the bridegroom’s house. The bride is already with the bridegroom. When the gates of the bridegroom’s house is closed, nobody can enter anymore and those who have no lamps of their own were considered gate crashers.
In telling this story, Jesus is reminding us to follow in the footsteps of the 5 wise virgins and not the 5 foolish ones. In the kingdom of God, the bridegroom is Jesus Christ. He is coming again and we do not know the time when it will be. We are like the 10 virgins, part of the entourage, who are waiting for His return.
What must we do while waiting for the second coming of Christ? We must be ready anytime and anywhere.
Readiness means that we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This faith in the Lord is what gives us the hope that no matter the situation, we hold on to the promises of God, and we continue to live out the will of God.
Readiness also means that we must be wise. To be wise in the parable is to always have oil in the lamp — you know how much supply you have and when to replenish it. In our spiritual lives that means that we take time to read the Bible, fellowship with believers, go to church, ha a reflection time, and share the Gospel with others. We must continually feed our spiritual lives so that we may not become like the foolish virgins in the story.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on