The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
The Parable of the Talents
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The Final Judgment
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matthew 25 Commentary
by Hank Workman
David Wilkerson was the founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York. His humble beginnings were in Indiana where in time he would go to a small Bible College in Missouri and in time pastor small churches in Pennsylvania. It would be a random LIFE magazine picture that would change the trajectory of his life forever. It was of 7 gang members in New York who had been arrested and waited for their trial. The year was 1958.
The Holy Spirit stirred his heart that he was to go to New York and preach to them. He followed the lead and actually showed up at the trial where he asked the judge for a moment to speak to these men. The judge threw him out. That moment, however, would mark him as the preacher with the Bible who “interrupted the gang trial.” This did not sway what the Holy Spirit was doing. He began reaching out to the drug addicts and gang members. That same year he started an addiction recovery program called Teen Challenge.
This would be the making of many spiritual encounters with people who were struggling and lost. One would be Nicky Cruz, a tough gang leader and warlord of the Mau Maus. He was a very scary young man of the streets but this did not thwart what the Holy Spirit was doing in Wilkerson who preached boldly.
Wilkerson told Nicky Jesus loved him and would never stop. He told him he had that same love. Enraged Cruz slapped David and threatened to kill him with his switchblade. “Even if you cut me into a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street, every piece will still love you.”
Wilkerson did not stop and not only had this same scenario happened again, David set an evangelistic meeting right in the heart of the gangland of the Mau Maus. He went with the intention of taking Wilkerson out. The course of his life was about to change dramatically. As Wilkerson was preaching something began happening within Nicky, he began to feel remorseful for everything he had done. When an altar call was given, Nicky along with many of the other gang members went forward and accepted Jesus Christ praying He would forgive him.
Recounting in the bestseller, The Cross and The Switchblade, Wilkerson would recall his life and meeting Nicky. After his conversion, Nicky began to study the Bible, eventually went to Bible College and became an evangelist. In time he would return to the streets where he once ruled with guns and switchblades and preach to his one-time gang members. One by one the Mau Maus became Christians. Nicky followed in his spiritual father’s footsteps.
Several years ago, Wilkerson sat at an intimate dinner. He confessed that Matthew 25 haunted him. He wondered aloud to the guests if God would say to him when the end of his life came, “Well done good and faithful servant.” He questioned if he had been “faithful with a few things” or “loved the least of these.”
It’s hard to fathom David Wilkerson of all people would have such questions!
Matthew 25 speaks of the judgment and people separated like sheep and goats. The clincher is the shocking aspect Jesus speaks of to both groups – one of which is rewarded and another that is sent toward judgment. The Message translation is powerful of these words:
“I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. I was shivering and you gave me clothes. I was sick and you stopped to visit. I was in prison and you came to me…. Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.”
Jesus takes what we do personally. When we help someone, keep reaching out to someone, visit someone, help those in physical or personal prisons, what we do to and for them, we’re doing to Him.
This is all personal business with Jesus.
I am sure at the very random traffic accident that took Wilkerson’s life – the moment he stepped into eternity – he heard the words “Well done. You’ve been faithful. You served me well.” But until that moment he was driven by doing whatever he could, going wherever he must to reach the least of these. It was his absolute mission and drive.
It must be ours as well.
Matthew 25 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Leonard Kevin Bias was born on November 17, 1963, in Landover, Maryland. He was a tall, quiet young boy who was nicknamed “Frosty” by his pastor at church because of his cold, relaxed attitude. Bias was a once-in-a-lifetime sports talent. After a successful high school basketball career, he chose to attend the University of Maryland. He had it all. He could score at will. His combination of both speed and strength was something the college game had never seen before.
According to Wikipedia, “Bias impressed basketball fans with his amazing leaping ability, his physical stature and his ability to create plays, and was considered one of the most dynamic players in the nation.”
In fact, most agree he was more talented than the legendary Michael Jordan. 4-time NBA champion John Salley is quoted as saying that Bias “would have been considered probably the best player to ever play.” Simply put, he dominated the game of basketball like no other.
On June 17, 1986, he was selected as the second pick overall by the Boston Celtics in the NBA draft. Two days later, tragedy struck. Bias was found dead from cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose. By many accounts, he is considered the greatest athlete to never play a single game at the professional level. Ultimately, his talent was wasted.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable about wasted talent.
In the ancient world, a talent was a lot of money. It would have equaled about 20 years of wages. Depending on if it was gold or silver, a talent could weigh between 75 and 120 pounds! In Jesus’ story, a talent is a metaphor for opportunities to use our abilities. Notice, not everyone receives equal gifts. The distribution is consistent with our own experiences. Some are gifted with supreme ability. Others are average. Still others struggle with minimal opportunities. This echoes Jesus’ words in Luke.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.Luke 12:48b NASB
The master’s expectation of fruitful work lined up with the gifts of the individual. He is equally pleased with the slave who returned 10 talents as He is with the slave who returned only 4. They both doubled what was given to them. But the master only groups them into two categories: faithful or unfaithful.
The Last Slave
The shock of this parable comes for the last slave who buried his talent in the ground. It seemed he was not intentionally disobedient. He didn’t squander it or trade it. In other words, he seemed to have good intentions. He played it safe and buried it hoping the master would be pleased that it wasn’t lost. Why was the master so upset? Because laziness and procrastination are veiled forms of disobedience.
And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” 61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”Luke 9:59-62 NASB
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have funerals or say good-bye to family members. It’s an illustration of priorities.
Imagine you are a doctor who has just discovered the cure for cancer. With great excitement, you begin traveling around the world distributing this cure to every hospital and cancer clinic you can find. You are the only one who has the cure, and time is running out for people who are literally on their deathbed. As you are organizing a team to provide a greater reach of this cure, someone calls out to you, “Hey doctor, help us bury these dead bodies!” How would you reply? Which is the greater priority?
The point is, if God has given you a specific gift for a specific time with a specific person, He expects you to use it, not bury it!
Failure To Try
There is something else to this parable we cannot miss. The third slave was so fearful that he would fail, he never even tried. Maybe he thought his one talent was unimportant? Maybe he just didn’t care? Either way, it’s a horrendous tragedy! How many people today are missing the opportunities that God is placing in front of them because they are afraid of failure? I personally believe that figure is astronomical. Hear this – what we do not use for the Lord will be lost forever.
The very least this slave could have done was place the talent in a bank so it would gain interest. This illustrates that even the slightest bit of faith in stepping out and using our talents will be commended by God. Do not allow yourself to be satisfied with a free ticket to heaven. This is not Salvation, and it is not the expectation of Jesus when He saves you. We have a mission to be active and profitable participants in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.