Text: Matthew 25
Event(s): The parable of the wise and foolish virgins; the parable of the talents; the day of judgment
Chapter 25 is a continuation of the discourse in Chapter 24 as Jesus was answering His disciples’ questions about the end times and His return. I like the way one particular commentator divided up this chapter. There are three things we must consider: personal salvation (verses 1-13), responsible stewardship (verses 14-30) and practical servanthood (verses 31-46).
Matthew 25:1-13 “The parable of the wise and foolish virgins.” This parable speaks to readiness, our spiritual readiness. The word translated wise here means prudent. In other words, mindful of one’s interests.
“…the point to this parable is simply that readiness, whatever form it takes, is not something that can be achieved by a last-minute adjustment.” -The New International Commentary on the New Testament
Matthew 25:1-13 “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them.” Oil is used for anointing; and throughout the Bible we find that oil is symbolic of the work of Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus said, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) So what Jesus is saying is that when He, the Bridegroom, comes for His bride, the church, at an unknown hour, some will be ready, but others will not because they lack oil in their lamps. Those who lack oil are those who have not been born of the Spirit.
Matthew 25:14-30 “The parable of the talents” This parable speaks to our responsible stewardship, or faithfulness with what we have been given while here on this earth. Prior to leaving, the owner gave varying sums of money to his servants, each according to their own ability. Interestingly, the word used for ability here, is dunamis; the same word that is used for power when describing the active ability of the Holy Spirit within us.
Parable one in this chapter talks about our spiritual condition. Parable two reminds us that in addition to giving an account of what we did with Jesus, we will all have to give an account for what we’ve been entrusted with. Not only have we been given talents, gifts, treasure, time, etc. We have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us to do great things with what we have been given.
Matthew 25:31-46 “The final judgment.“Jesus concluded the Olivet Discourse with further revelation about the judgment that will take place at the end of the present age when He returns. His return will usher in a judgment, which will divide people. The judgment will be based on moral character, and the character is revealed by charitable deeds or lack of them. Outward evidence demonstrates inner righteousness or unrighteousness. Good works do not produce good character; good character produces good works.*
Today’s Takeaway: I want to go back to the parable of the talents. Notice, it was the servant who was given one talent that buried what he had. How often I’ve heard people say they don’t think they have anything to offer. They can’t think of a gift or a talent or special ability they possess. But the truth is, we’ve all been given something. And if we think about it, we’ll be able to name what that something is. The problem is not that we have not been given; the problem is that like the servant in this parable, we tend to think our talent won’t make that big of a difference – which is a lie.
Those of us who don’t think we’ve been given much need to be especially careful, because this is when we tend to bury what we have. But here’s what I’ve learned: when we start using what God has given us…even if it’s not in a perfect way, or even if we’re a little wobbly as we get started, or even if we start small….once we turn the faucet on, the water starts flowing freely. So today, think about what simple step can you take to start doing something with what you have been given?
Additional (optional) reading: 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20; Zechariah 4:10
*notes taken from the New Spirit Filled Life Bible