“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” – Matthew 6:25-27 NKJV
“If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.” – Jason Gray
This parable is still part of Jesus’s discourse with His disciples on how they will recognize, and must wait for, the end of this age. In the previous parable He encouraged them to live their lives in such a way that they will not be caught unaware when Jesus comes again. However, in this parable Jesus puts more emphasis on faithfully carrying out the task He has given them until He returns. The NETBible makes two comments about this parable.
- The one who has will be given more. Faithfulness yields great reward (see Matt 13:12; also Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18, 19:26).
- The one who has nothing has even what he seems to have taken from him, ending up with no reward at all (see also Luke 8:18). The exact force of this is left ambiguous, but there is no comfort here for those who are pictured by the third slave as being totally unmoved by the master. Though not an outright enemy, there is no relationship to the master either.
We should be eagerly expecting and waiting for Jesus’s return. However, it is not a passive form of expectation or waiting. We need to be faithfully carrying out the task He has given us, i.e. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Lord, help us to be faithful doers of the Word until the end.
The alternative is not an option . . .
Context: In the previous chapter Matthew records Jesus’s conversation with His disciples about the ‘signs of the end of the age’. One of the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith is that Jesus is coming back a second time, and when He does it will usher in the beginning of a new age. In this new (and final?) phase of history, everything as we know it will change. God will make it better. The Bible teaches that we live in a world that is a far cry from the place He created it to be. The reason: human beings’ disobedience brought a curse on it. Jesus disciples were intrigued about the timing of His second coming, and He told this parable to show them how they should wait for His second coming.
Comments and Application: We need to be ready for Jesus’s second coming at any moment, because it will be a complete surprise. The parable suggests that it will feel as if a long time is passing before He comes again, and that it might be so long that we may drop our guard.
The parable also suggests that we can and have to live our lives in such a way that we are prepared for Jesus’s second coming. Five of the virgins planned and invested ahead in such a way that they were ready for the bridegroom’s arrival, even though it was a little unannounced. The other five were lazy and careless, and wanted to prepare themselves for the bridegroom’s arrival at the last moment. There will be no place in God’s Kingdom for people whose actions don’t mirror the attitude of their hearts.
Jesus’s final comment explains this parable, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”. We need to be vigilant in our pursuit of living for God: we don’t know when our time in earth is over, and we don’t know when Jesus is coming again.
How will Jesus find you if He returns today? Prepared, or unprepared?