The Bridegroom is Coming
In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Day Is Coming
We all too often give only lip service to the words that we speak. At least weekly we confess, “He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead” and we pray, “Thy kingdom come” without giving these words a second thought.
Scripture is clear, the angels proclaimed it, “This Jesus; who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” The bridegroom is coming but “you know neither the day nor the hour.”
As we near the end of the church year, the gospel readings are meant to remind us that Jesus will come again. They are meant to remind us to be ready for his return, to watch and wait with certainty for him to come in all his glory.
Who Will Be Ready?
The readings are meant to warn us that not everyone will be saved. Not everyone who comes from a Christian family, who attends church, and who leads a mostly decent life, will enter the kingdom of heaven with the Bridegroom.
These outward signs of Christianity including serving on committees, teaching Sunday Scholl, helping with pot-lucks, and using the offering envelope, are just that outward appearances. It is possible to do all these things but to hear Jesus say, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
There is one thing needful for you to have when the Bridegroom comes. You must have faith that the Bridegroom is coming, that he has prepared a place for you, and that he died and rose for you.
Today’s parable is about ten virgins who were waiting for the Bridegroom to come and take them to the marriage feast. At the time of Jesus, the wedding celebration would take place at the home of the bridegroom. The bridegroom would prepare his home and then go to bring the bride to celebrate the marriage feast in his home.
The virgins had all been called by the Bridegroom to be his bride, just as Christ has called all those in the church to be his bride. Christ has paid the price for all to be his bride. He suffered and died so that the sins of his bride would be forgiven so that she would be pure and holy.
The virgins were waiting in the darkness so they needed light to be seen by the Bridegroom. They brought with them lamps and oil, but some of them were wise and some were foolish. The lamps held very little oil and were no good without a constant supply of oil.
The foolish virgins did not have enough oil to last. They were not prepared to wait until the Bridegroom was ready to come. The wise virgins had oil that would last them until the Bridegroom would come to bring them to the marriage feast.
You too are waiting in darkness. You began your lives as Christians in the light of Holy Baptism. In baptism you were given faith and forgiveness. In the light of God’s Holy Word you have learned that these gifts come from a merciful and gracious God.
To have faith in the Bridegroom means that you believe that you are a sinner who cannot please God on your own. Faith in Jesus as your Savior, means that no matter the trails and sufferings of this life that you trust that Christ has not forgotten or forsaken you. Faith means praying “Lord I believe help my unbelief.”
Watching and Waiting
While they were watching, they all fell asleep. They all stopped watching for the bridegroom. Soon they heard what they had been waiting to hear. At midnight there was a cry in the darkness, “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”
It was time for their lamps to shine so that the Bridegroom could see them and bring them to his home for the banquet. The lamps of some were going out. They tried to borrow some oil from the others, but the others only had enough for themselves.
All of them fell asleep. All of them fell short of staying up until the Bridegroom came. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Not one of us will enter the kingdom of God because we are without sin. We will go to be with the Bridegroom because he is without sin yet took upon himself our sin.
The faith that you have been given believes in the one who for your salvation came down from heaven. That faith is for your salvation but it cannot save other. They must have their own. They cannot say my grandparent or parent or spouse had faith. There is no shortage of faith that is given by the Holy Spirit but it cannot be transferred from one person to another.
He Prepares You
The Bridegroom has prepared you with faith. If you trust in the things of this world or in yourself your faith in Christ can grow dim. A faith that grows dim forgets that all that you have comes from the Bridegroom who sacrificed his own life for you, for the forgiveness of your sins and for an eternal life with you, free from all tribulations and hardships.
While you watch and wait for Jesus to come and take you to be with him, you will hear all sorts of false teachers telling you to watch them. “There is no God so don’t waste your time watching and waiting” they say. Others say, “Everyone is okay there is no punishment, there is not door that will be shut.” Many say, “Try your best and everything will work out.”
Today’s parable teaches you to be prepared in the darkness. You need to be prepared for times of tribulation and times of false teaching. You need to have a full measure of faith so that your faith will not be drained away from you.
Those who are wise, those who are prepared for the darkness, those who know that the wait might be long need to have their faith continually strengthened. The Lord provided means for that to happen.
Those who are wise hunger and thirst for the Word of God. The wise are those who read, hear, and study God’s Word so that they Holy Spirit can strengthen their faith.
Those who are wise come to the Lord’s Table with a repentant heart. They receive the body and blood of Jesus with the assurance that their sins are forgiven and with the confidence that the Holy Spirit alone can and will strengthen their faith.
Those who are wise cling to the promise that God made to them in their baptism, that their sins were washed away by the blood of Jesus and that a room is prepared for them in the home of the heavenly Father.
May we all watch and wait with faith in the one who is preparing a place for us. May we know and believe that he daily forgives our sins so that we may live with him forever. May we be ready when the bridegroom comes.
Lord In Your Mercy. Hear our prayer.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.