At Midnight

Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked.11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”

Reflection

As we approach the night of the arrival of Jesus the Messiah we take a moment to think about that final night when He will return again. In this parable we see the return of Jesus as a mystery of great wonder occurring under the cover of night. Just as the Israelites were brought out of captivity on a night of marvels and redemption, so Jesus will call out His people, separating them from the world as the Israelites were separated from the Egyptians.

We feel the urgency of Jesus’ words as an exhortation to be ready – to ensure our hearts are connected to His in the same way as we have seen in these stories of God’s deliverance. Throughout His ministry on earth Jesus passionately demonstrated unconditional love, forgiveness, and righteousness through an open heart to God, not through the letter of the law. He was the embodiment of the truth that the law kills but the Spirit brings life.

The five brides in this story who are ready for the Bridegroom are shown as having a double portion of oil – in their time of waiting they have purposed their hearts to remain full of the anointing oil, full of the presence of God, full of the intimacy of His love. They will not miss this moment for anything. And just like Abraham, Jacob, Rahab, David and Mary before them, imperfect as they are, on this night of wonder they are caught up into the story of God’s redemption.

Prayer:

Open your heart to the intimacy and love of Jesus. Take a moment to let your heart be filled by His oil and by the life-sustaining passion of His love for you.

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