Wednesday Night Bible Survey

March 15, 1995

Matthew 25


We're now in the final week of Jesus' earthly life.

Jesus was teaching in the temple.  He ended with quite a series of rebukes against the Pharisees, and some hints at the destruction coming on Jerusalem.

The disciples wanted to know more about His coming, and so Jesus was giving the signs to look for in His Second Coming, and warnings to be ready at any time.

Matthew 25

:1-13  The Ten Virgins


We need to understand the following to help us with the parable.

We're going to read about a Bridegroom coming to get married.

It's best understood to see the Bridegroom as having gone on a long journey, and promising to come back on a certain night, though the time of his arrival was uncertain.

The Bridegroom was coming back for the purpose of getting married.  He didn't want any delays once he got back in town.

The custom of the day was for the Bridegroom to arrive at the Bride's house and take his bride in a procession to his own home.

There would be a procession of people, witnesses to the wedding (like bridesmaids).  The established rule or custom of the time was that ceremonies as important as weddings should be witnessed by at least ten people, hence the ten virgins.

The bridesmaids (virgins) will be waiting for the Bridegroom at the house of the Bride, decorated for the festive occasion.

Because this story takes place at night, there must be lights for the procession.  The lights used in Jesus' day were oil lamps.  The lamps used olive oil for fuel, with a small hole and a wick sticking through to be lit.  The lamps would then be placed on top of a pole and held up in the air for the procession.

Don't think of them waiting outside in the dark, with their lamps burning.  Their lamps aren't going to be lit until the procession starts.

Read the parable

:5  slumbered and slept

RWP: {They all slumbered and slept} (enustaxan pāsai kai ekatheudon). They dropped off to sleep, nodded (ingressive aorist) and then went on sleeping (imperfect, linear action), a vivid picture drawn by the difference in the two tenses. Many a preacher has seen this happen while he is preaching.

:7  trimmed their lamps

They pull the wicks out and light them.

:8  our lamps are gone out

When the foolish virgins start to light their lamps, because there is no oil, their wicks soon go out.

The Point (s)

1.  It's not enough to be in the group of virgins waiting.  You must have oil for your lamp.

It's not enough to be going to church, you must have your own relationship with the Lord.  You need to have the oil of the Holy Spirit that comes by being saved.

2.  Each virgin must have her own oil.  She can't use somebody else's oil.

You aren't going to get to heaven under your parents' salvation.  You must have your own salvation.

3.  The wise virgins were prepared.

They might have fallen asleep, but that's not the point of the parable.

The point is that when the call came, they woke up and were ready.

The call might be the return of Jesus to the earth, it might be in death.

:14-30  The Talents

:14  delivered unto them his goods

He entrusted them with his savings, to take care of it until he came back.

:15  five talents

We often get confused, thinking of natural abilities, "talents".

But the talent referred to here was a particular monetary unit.

A talent was worth 6,000 denarii, and a denarius was equivalent to a day's wage for a day laborer.

Think of a talent, then, being 16 years' worth of wages.

If you earned $10,000 a year (roughly $5/hr.), then one talent would be worth $160,000, and five talents would be $800,000.

The Point (s)

1.  Get Busy

I think this parable is addressing the issue of what we are to be doing until the Lord comes back.

We've been hit with the idea of being ready for the Bridegroom.

But that doesn't mean that we're all supposed to sit around in white robes on top of a hill somewhere, gazing into the sky, waiting for Jesus to return.

Jesus has entrusted us with part of His wealth.

He wants us to make the most of it until He returns.

In a similar parable in Luke, Jesus says,

Luke 19:13-AV And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Luke 19:13-NIV So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'

What kinds of things has God entrusted to you?

Finances?  Spiritual Gifts?  Natural abilities?  Children? A winning smile?

Most of all, God has entrusted you with the gospel of Jesus.

Are you going to put the gospel into practice in your life?

Are you going to let Jesus work in your life?

The wicked servant simply did nothing.

He heard the gospel, but didn't do anything with it.

2.  It's not the amount of return that counts, but the faithfulness.

Note that Jesus says the same thing and gives the same reward to both the five-talent guy as well as the two-talent guy.

What Jesus is looking for is faithfulness, for us simply using whatever God has given us.

If God has given you a brain with an IQ of 50, then use it all to the glory of God.

If God has given you a brain with an IQ of 150, then use it all to the glory of God.

1Corinthians 4:1-2 AV Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.  2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

:31-46  The Sheep and the Goats

:31-33  the throne of His glory

This would appear to be different than what we refer to as the "Great White Throne Judgment".

That is the judgment that we see in Rev.20, and takes place after the 1000 reign of Christ on the earth.

In that judgment, the unbelieving dead are all raised from the dead and must stand before God in judgment.

This would appear to be the judgment that will take place after Jesus returns to the earth at the end of the seven year tribulation period.

This judgment is going to determine who is going to go into the millenial kingdom, and who isn't.

:35  ye gave me meat ...

Here is appears that the judgment is going to be based upon what a person does or doesn't do.

Isn't that in contradiction to the fact that we're saved by faith, and not by works?


When a person is truly saved, then there will be a change in their life, and good works will come out naturally.

:-40  the least of these my brethren

Who is Jesus referring to?

I think there are at least two possibilities according to Scripture:

1.  It could refer to Jesus' brethren after the flesh, the Jews.

Some have taken this as how the Gentile nations have acted toward the Jews during their great persecution that will happen during the tribulation.

Those Gentile believers who came to know the Lord after the rapture will have a heart to help out the Jews.

2.  It could just refer to believers in general.

Matthew 12:50-AV For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

The deeds that are done could be referring to helping out brothers and sisters in need in the church.

This would make sense since the church is called "the body of Christ".

If we're helping out a member of the body, we're helping out Jesus.

Even the least member of the church.

I'm not so sure that I could say that this refers to just helping out anybody, though we're to do that too.

Jesus says specifically "my brethren".

The Point (s)

1.  There will be a judgment by God.

Man likes to try and talk himself out of this fact.

But man will one day stand before God and give an account of his life.

Hebrews 9:27-AV And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

If it's not at this specific judgment, it will be at another judgment.

2.  The naturalness of God's work.

The righteous didn't even seem aware of what they had done.

It's not like they tried to set out a three point plan on feeding Jesus.

They just saw needs and responded.

Play "The Sheep & the Goats" - Keith Green


Matthew 26