Jesus often gave us hints concerning the kingdom of heaven and He did so in the form of parables. One of these parables is found in Matthew 25 and tells us about ten virgins getting ready to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and had brought along extra oil for trimming their lamps. The other five had foolishly neglected to bring oil. While they all waited for the bridegroom to arrive, they fell asleep.
Finally at midnight, the call came for them to go out and meet the bridegroom. Finding that their lamps had gone out and they had no oil, the foolish virgins asked the others to share their extra with them, but the girls refused. “Go and buy your own,” they were told. So they did. While they were away, the bridegroom came and the ones who were ready went in with him to the marriage…and the door was shut.
Later, the foolish virgins returned and knocked at the door. “Lord, Lord,” they cried, “Let us in.”
But he answered and said, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not!”
All of us are aware of the craziness going on in our country right now and most are finding it hard to accept. I continue to search the Bible for answers. In an earlier passage found in Matt. 12: 43-45, Jesus tells that when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he (the spirit) walks through dry places seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, I will return to my house where I came out. But when he does he finds the house empty, swept and put in order. Then he goes and gets seven other spirits who are more wicked than he himself and they dwell there…and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
This story is retold in Luke 11:26, then Jesus goes on and says to the people: This is a wicked generation. They look for a sign.” He reminds them of Nineveh and how the city repented after Jonah preached to them. “As Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of man be to this generation…Behold, one greater than Jonah is here.”
For many years following World War II, our country healed and life for most Americans was peaceful. The churches were busy…at least in my small home town… always visiting and reaching out to those in need…not just to meet the physical needs, but to insure that everyone heard the good news of Jesus and lost souls were saved. We heard about heaven but also knew about hell and how the devil works. Parents were strict so we knew there were consequences when we did wrong. America was far from perfect, but also far from how it is today.
With the 1960’s came unrest and racial problems as integration became more widespread and the KKK was active…then came the Vietnam war, the assassination of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy…so many things to change our lives. Television shows and movies became more and more sexually explicit and every punch line was baited with it as well. As the years passed, going to church and honoring God became taboo. The church preached mostly to the choir and people didn’t visit as much or reach out to the unsaved. A lot of people stopped going to church and tuned In to TV preachers who claimed “God loves you just the way you are.” But they forgot to add that He also expects change and a repenting of sins. Prayer was banned in schools and saying the pledge to our flag every morning became a thing of the past.
America enjoyed many years of prosperity during the 80’s and 90’s. Then in 2001 the enemy struck the World Trade Center in New York and life was forever changed…and lost for many. The comfortable, safe world we had known was no longer. We had to watch our backs and take nothing for granted. For a time, God was foremost in our thoughts and watching out for each other became common…but it didn’t last long. We fell back into old habits and the war on terror drug on forever.
Then, in 2020, the whole world was shut down…something that had never happened before…because of a virus that started in China. Now our streets in some cities are filled with protestors and rioters determined to make us see that black lives matter and we have no need for police officers. It is a crazy time and many are disturbed by the uncertainty. Is God trying to tell us something? Are we the evil generation that looks for a sign, but fails to see it? He told the people the only sign would be that of Jonah…who preached to the city of Nineveh and the people repented…but, as He said…there is one greater than Jonah here!
It is time for the church to open up their doors and reach out again. As the ten virgins who brought oil for their lamps and were prepared for marriage, we too must be prepared for the return of our Lord. Five…one half…of the virgins were foolish and got left behind. For years now our country has been divided almost in half as well by the Democrats and the Republicans. Politics have become the topic of way too many conversations. The internet, social media and 24/7 news reports have our country in fear and at each other’s throats. It is time for Christians to listen to the One greater than Jonah and get back to the business of spreading the truth of God’s Word. Are we prepared like the five wise virgins with our lamps trimmed and oil to spare…or will we find ourselves locked out and hearing the words: I know you not?