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Reawakening to the Return of Christby Duane Mabee on February 2, 2022
Interest in the return of Christ seem to rise and fall in cycles. At times, believers seem obsessed with Christ’s return. They fixate on timelines and try to place every event in order – particularly the rapture of the church. When those cycles die down, though, it feels as though believers have little interest at all in Christ’s return. There has to be a healthy balance somewhere in between.
Christ is coming again, and when He does, some will go with Him to live forever in His Father’s house, but others will be shut out for all eternity. Jesus taught about this in a number of parables. One is found in Matthew 25:1-13.
In this parable, Jesus talks about ten virgins who are waiting to escort the bridegroom to the wedding feast. Wedding customs differed from village to village, but all weddings included a processional of the bridegroom to the bride’s family home. It frequently happened at night and only those with lamps to help light the way were considered part of the wedding party. Anyone who did not have a lamp was considered a party crasher, (Life Application Bible Commentary on Matthew).
In Jesus’ story, five ladies had come prepared with enough oil to keep their lamps burning regardless of when the groom arrived. Five weren’t prepared. We can find lots of meaning in the details of the story, but the focal point is when the bridegroom enters the house and shuts the door. Those who were not ready at that moment missed out completely. When the five unprepared women begged to be admitted, the groom replied, “Truly, I tell you, I do not know you.” There is a finality to the shutting of the door. Those on the outside will not have another chance to be let in.
There are two ways to understand Jesus’ teaching here. The most common is that we should make sure we are ready to go with Jesus whenever He comes – whether He comes for us individually – as in death – or returns to take all believers to heaven. That’s a great way to understand and apply this parable. Are you sure you are saved and will go with Jesus no matter when He returns?
There is another way we should apply this parable, though. For those of us who are certain we will go with Jesus when He comes, are we equally sure that those we love will be with Him? Church, we must reawaken to the fact that Jesus is coming again and when He does some people will be shut out for all eternity – some people we love. Until He comes, we have the ability to influence who will and will not be shut out. We can make a difference through prayer and through evangelism. While the door is open, are we doing everything we can to make sure the people we know, and love are not among those who will be shut out?