Beware! Be Ready!
Scripture reading for October 13th: Matthew 24-25
These chapters of Matthew contain the last major teaching of Jesus to his disciples as recorded by this Gospel writer. Jesus remarked to His disciples about how not one stone would be left upon another at the temple. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:2-5)
It appears that deception will be a mark of the last days before the return of Jesus Christ. The world we live in today is full of counterfeit religions and numerous cults that claim that they are the only way to God. Even in the church, there are numerous false teachers who are deceptive and seductive. In addition, there are other signs of the end of the age mentioned by Jesus. He pointed to wars and rumors of wars among the nations. There will also be famines and earthquakes in numerous places and the world will be in great distress. Persecution of Christians will result in the death of the saints and betrayal and hatred toward God’s people will be common. Many will turn away from following Jesus and their love for God will grow cold. (Matthew 24:6-13)
As far as when this will take place, Jesus had a different warning. There will surely be much deception and false teachers will abound, but Jesus emphatically taught that no one will know the day or hour of His return. (Matthew 24:36) It will be like the days of Noah when the flood came suddenly and swept the world of that time away. It will be like a thief coming to a house suddenly at night. It will be like a master coming back to find his servant neglecting his duties and doing evil. The point of these illustrations is that each person must be in a state of readiness at all times. Jesus is coming back at a time when we least expect it.
To illustrate this point, Jesus then told two parables. The first, which we will discuss, was about the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom. The virgins consisted of five who were foolish and five others who were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps, but did not take any oil for them. The wise took oil along for their lamps and were ready. The bridegroom was delayed and they all fell asleep. The midnight cry woke them up to prepare for his arrival. Only the wise were prepared and got to go with the bridegroom to the wedding feast. The foolish were late and missed the party!
Our Lord just emphasized the need to be read and prepared for the immanent coming of our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. He could come at any time. Are you prepared? Is your lamp burning bright and have you purchased plenty of oil? May the truth of this message cause faith to arise to get ready!