i was asked by someone close to me to give my thoughts on Matthew 25. i decided to split up Matthew 25 into its three parts and just pick out certain points that stick out to me.
Matthew 25: 1-13
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
In this parable Jesus uses the practices of marriage at this time as a representative tale of what the coming of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven will be like. The big thing i take away from this portion of the passage is the Bible is clear that all will be shown or receive the message of who God is by God himself in one way or another and it is up to them whether they respond foolishly or wisely. i use to get so caught up on the fact that i felt that those who were not willing to spare their oil were selfish until i realized why they could not spare their own oil. This oil is representative of our relationship with God and how bright and long it allows our lamps to burn. Just as i cannot have a relationship with Christ for someone else, these people could not give oil to others because it would not fuel their lamp. One must be prepared with their own oil for if it is not their own they do not have a genuine relationship with the Lord.
Matthew 25: 14-30
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
This portion is another parable of the time between the resurrection of Jesus and His return. i do feel that this passage is not easy to read. At first glance i believe someone, without prior knowledge of the Word, reading this would assume that God punishes those who protect His message. i do not believe that the verse about hiding the Word of God in our hearts so that we may not sin against Him supports this man’s efforts either. For in that verse we are to hide the Word of God in our hearts so that what we are believing is true and so that it cannot be tainted. i do not think that for one second that the reason this man is cast into the shadows is because he did not turn a profit with what was given to him. It is evident that the issue lies with this man not using the message God has given him, and instead of using it he has hidden it from the world. If we hide the message of God from the world, there is no way we can be sharing it and Jesus even told us that if we deny Him before the world, He will deny us before His Father just as He does in this passage.
Matthew 25: 31-46
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
i think reading this passage is fairly self explanatory as far as the overall message behind it. i do not think it is to hard for someone to understand why Jesus uses the imagery of a shepherd as well as the entire passage as an allegory for the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. The one thing i would stress to anyone i was trying to help explain this message to that had never heard it before is what Jesus exclaims is the difference between the goats and the sheep. It is to easy to say that Jesus is claiming the good works you do for others on earth will separate you from the rest and i also think that is wrong. For we have been told throughout all of scripture that our works are meaningless without our Faith and vice versa. So if we are to assume that Jesus is not simply speaking about works, what are we to believe He is saying?
The main example that comes to mind is from John 6: 35, “ 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”. i think it is crucial to realize that when Jesus is telling the sheep that they fed Him, He does not mean with just food but with the Bread of Life. What good is our earthly food to these people, when it does not offer everlasting life?
i hope this has been some help.