Here Comes the Bridegroom
About seventeen years ago, while I was driving down the highway, I was taken by surprise because of what was happening. As I approached an intersection the traffic light began to blink red, like a warning that something was about to happen. By the time I reached the next main intersection the signals were out including other signals for several miles. As I continued the word began to come over the radio that something strange was happening from the East Coast, up into Canada and reaching areas in Michigan as well. Of course, if you remember, the huge blackout of 2003.
I remembered other events through the years that have happened that took us by surprise, the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, as well as the attack on the World Trade Center towers in N.Y.C., which we address as “9-11.” The Bible warns us continually, be ready for a special day or hour that no one knows except the Father, that being the “coming of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Mark 13:32). Jesus drew verbal pictures of the world around him by teaching parables. He told stories taken from daily life to teach new lessons. The lesson quite often came at the end of the story. He told several stories about the end times. In Matthew 25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom,” which is the source of my title. Matthew 25 continues: “Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any 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 comes 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.”
This parable shows a division between the ready and the unready. It is essentially a warning not to be caught unready. All ten are expecting to be at the feast and until the moment comes, there is no apparent difference between them. The bridegroom was a long time coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep, which was no fault in itself, for both wise and foolish did so. During the delay, life must go on, and it is difficult to live in constant alert. At midnight the cry rang out, “Here comes the bridegroom: come out to meet him.” The story concludes that only the five wise virgins went in with him to the wedding feast. The difference was whether they had been ready for the summons, or had waited until it was too late. It is true that the Lord, at his glorious coming, will exclude all those who, by then, are still not ready or converted. The parable concludes, “I do not know you.” There must be no delay, for once he has returned, the door of grace is irrevocably closed.
As one of the pastors at Troy Christian Chapel, I was made to wonder what part we pastors play in this scenario. We are fortunate to have three pastors who care for us. I figured we have over eighty years of pastoral experience here to help us grow, plus a few other brethren that contribute to our ministry as well. We covet your prayers. As the writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” God help us to live up to that billing, “Here comes the Bridegroom, come out to meet him.”
Paster Jake StirnemannFebruary 1, 2020