Parable of the Ten Virgins
With comments by John Wesley
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven – That is, the candidates for it, be like ten virgins. – The bridesmaids on the wedding night were accustomed to go to the house where the bride was, with burning lamps or torches in their hands, to wait for the bridegroom’s coming. When he drew near, they went to meet him with their lamps, and to conduct him to the bride.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
The foolish took no oil with them. – No more oil than kept them burning just for the present. No oil to supply their future want, to replenish their lamp’s decay. The lamp is faith. A lamp with oil is faith working by love.
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
The wise took oil in their vessels. – Love in their hearts. And they daily sought a fresh supply of spiritual strength, till their faith was made perfect.
5 While the bridegroom tarried (delayed), they all slumbered and slept.
While the bridegroom delayed – That is, before they were called to attend him, they all slumbered and slept. – Were easy and quiet, the wise enjoying a true peace, the foolish a false peace.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
At midnight – In an hour quite unthought of.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Trimmed their lamps – They examined themselves and prepared to meet their God.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. Our faith is dead. What a time to discover this! Whether it means the time of death or of judgment, unto which of the saints will you then turn? Who can help you at such a season?
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
But the wise answered, Lest there be not enough for us and you! – Beginning the sentence with a beautiful abruptness, such as showed their surprise at the state of those poor wretches, who had so long received them, as well as their own souls. Lest there be not enough – It is sure there is not enough, for no man has more holiness than enough for himself. Go ye rather to them that sell – That is, to God, to Christ, and buy. – Without money and without price, if you can. O no! The time is past and returns no more!
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man (Jesus) cometh.
Watch therefore. – He that watches has not only a burning lamp, but also oil in his vessel. And even when he sleeps, his heart is awake. He is quiet, but not secure.
Biblically speaking, the darkness of midnight is wrapping itself around the whole world. Sin abounds everywhere and it is too easy to be unconcerned about the second coming of Jesus. God destroyed the world by a great flood a long time ago (Gen. 6-8), but when He does it again it will be by fire (2 Pet. 3:6-7).
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (conduct) and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:10-11).
Reader, you still have time to ask Jesus to come into your heart as your Lord and Savior. By His grace, you can be ready for His return.
(Some of John Wesley’s comments were carefully revised without losing their intended meaning.)