May 15, 2022
This week we read Matthew 21-28 and we see Judas betray Jesus and he is handed over to authorities. He dies on the cross for our sins and rises after three days. Prior to this, Jesus talks with his disciples in Chapter 24 about the 2nd coming of Christ. He gives them signs of the second coming but says in Matthew 24:36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Matthew chapter 25 discusses how we are to prepare for Jesus’ second coming. This is going to be the focus of discussion this week.
In Matthew 25:1-13 Jesus says that we all must be prepared for his coming. He gives a parable about 10 bridesmaids. To understand the text better it is important to understand the culture of marriage back then. Parents arranged the marriage between a boy and girl. Once this was done, there was a year period known as the “betrothal.” This usually lasted about a year. Once all agreements were made between both families, the betrothal period was over and the wedding could occur. This usually happened over a period of 5-7 days. The night before the wedding feast the bridegroom would get the bride with all the groomsmen and have a parade all through the city, celebrating their union. The next day was the wedding feast, and there was more celebration, and following this, along with gifts, blessings from the priests, and the friends, the marriage was then consummated.
The parable is about 10 bridesmaids waiting to join a wedding party, and expecting the groom to get his bride any day. Five were wise and five were fools, in that the 5 fools did not have oil to light their lamps. They looked like they were ready, because they had the lampstand and wick. But there was no oil to light the lamp. Then Jesus said to the 5 foolish bridesmaids, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you” (Matthew 25:12).
This is much like us today. Jesus says that we do not know exactly when He will return. But, we should be ready. How can we be ready? We can have oil in our lamps like the wise bridesmaids and not think we will have time in the future like the foolish bridesmaids.
In the Bible, oil represents the Holy Spirit. The 5 wise bridesmaids had the oil already with them. They were ready and accepted into the wedding. It is important that we have our oil ready today as well, and that is the Holy Spirit living in us. This is the most important aspect of being prepared for the 2nd coming of Christ. How do we get the Holy Spirit? In Acts 2:38, Peter says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 25:14-30 talks about using our talents (money, time, abilities) for God’s kingdom. A man went on a journey and entrusted his servants with his wealth. He gave one servant 5 talents (about $1.5 million dollars), another 2 talents ($600,000), and another 1 talent ($300,000). Each was given according to his ability. The 2 servants with the 5 and 2 talents put the money to work and doubled the value. The servant with one talent buried the talent. For the 2 servants who made money, the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things: I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” Matthew 25:21 &23). The servant who buried the talent said, “So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” The master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvesnt where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. An throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In the parable, the talent is talking about money specifically. It can also mean abilities and spiritual gifts. God gives each person abilities. Once someone becomes a Christian, they also receive a spiritual gift. Romans 12:3-8 says, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
In this parable, Jesus is saying that we should use our money, time, abilities and spiritual gifts for kingdom purposes. It will be different for each person according to his abilities, but should be used and not buried.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus talks about parable of separating the sheep from the goats. At first glance this looks like salvation is earned through works. The Bible is clear that salvation is based on faith in Christ and not by works. However, after becoming a Christian, we should become more like Jesus. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We are called to serve just as Jesus did. In this parable the all the nations come before Jesus, and he will separate the people on from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Jesus will separate those who are kind and do acts of service for other people in his name. These acts of service may be small or large. It could be giving a homeless person food, or helping dig a well in another country so people have fresh water. Notice that the righteous did these acts of service humbly. They did not even realize they were doing these acts for the Lord.
Thus, to summarize this chapter, we need to be prepared for Jesus’ return, use our talents, and help the least of these.
- Are you prepared for the return of Jesus?
- Is the Holy Spirit living in you?
- Are you using your time and talents for the Lord?
- Are you helping others?
I felt convicted this week about the use of my talents and the need to help others more. I pray God will give me wisdom to know any next steps I am to take. If you had any conviction this week, I pray God will lead you in a new direction as well.
Next week we will be back in the Old Testament reading Joshua 1-10.