By Caleb Faires
While we wait for Christ’s return, the Spirit equips us to live faithfully in light of our redemption in Christ.
I love to take my family on trips. And they love going. We all look forward to it for weeks. The only thing our children have to do to prepare for a vacation is get in the van on the appointed morning. But my wife and I spend hours planning, packing, reserving, scheduling, rescheduling, and trying to locate everyone’s sunglasses. This is how I anticipate a beach trip for our family of eight. When we anticipate something important, whether it is a family vacation, a wedding, or Christmas morning, we get ready. Our waiting isn’t passive, but preparatory. We wait, not just with expectation, but with longing.
We find this same sense of anticipation in the parable of the ten virgins. It is, after all, a party parable. Jesus is saying to us that His kingdom isn’t just some nifty way to dodge the final judgment; it is a more glorious celebration than we can imagine. It is the party of all eternity, the marriage supper of the Lamb, the coming of the great and glorious bridegroom, and the only party that truly matters. This certainly merits readiness, preparation, and anticipation.
There is, of course, a note of peril in this parable. God has invited us to the great banquet, and we know that we ought to “make every effort” to be there on time: oil in reserve and lamps trimmed (2Peter 3:14). But we are also highly distractible and notorious procrastinators. When we await the coming kingdom, we aren’t to be idly twiddling our thumbs with nonchalant indifference. No. We are to be actively engaged in seeking the kingdom, listening eagerly for the sound of the trumpet, because this is the very thing we have been hoping for all our lives.
As Matthew Henry observed, “Those are wise or foolish indeed, that are so in the affairs of their souls.” Is there oil in your lamp? An eternal wedding feast for eternal souls is not to be handled lightly. So, we wait for our Savior, keeping our hearts tuned, our ears sharp, and minds turned to Him. While we wait for Christ’s return, the Spirit equips us to live faithfully in light of our redemption in Christ, provoking us through His Word to be watchful. Indeed, the whole thrust of the Christian life begins at the cross and moves toward the return of Christ in glory. In our own strength, we fall far short. Like all ten of the virgins, or even like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–46), we are likely to doze off. Our eager waiting and anticipation are “based on His promise,” on His own power to fulfill, His own Spirit to seal and equip us (2Peter 3:13). May we be found ready on the day of His coming!