Matthew 25: 1-13
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this.”
In the story Jesus tells about the wise and foolish bridesmaids, the foolish find themselves facing a door that has closed. “Lord, lord, open to us,” they said. But the bridegroom replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.”
Jesus and his disciples had been discussing the end of the age and the final judgment. The wise were prepared and the foolish missed the party at the end of time. “Keep awake therefore,” Jesus concludes, “for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
In good Jesus style, the foolish bridesmaids’ fate is both warning and invitation. It is a wake-up call in the form of a “stay awake to God” parable. This story is meant to grab our attention and to disturb us enough to get us to respond.
What does God want from us?
Jesus put it bluntly. God wants us inside the door of the ultimate kingdom party when that day comes, but we have to do our part to get ready and to show up on time. Getting ready means a life of daily commitment to God, kingdom living here and now, and relationship with Jesus. It is entirely possible to choose otherwise, and Jesus is telling us we don’t actually have forever to decide. A day will come when that door will close.
For those who love Christ, there could be no more distressing words than “I do not know you.” This is our wake-up call.
What would it mean if we were to respond to this call today, not out of fear of hell or damnation, but out of an awakened understanding that the very definition of hell is to live apart from the love, mercy, grace, and peace of God?
The joy of the wedding banquet is the joy of knowing and being intimately known. It is the joy of God’s love that does not fail and does not end. The wise do not forget. The wise live everyday with this party in mind.
The door to the banquet hall is wide open. God wants us all there. How will we use today to prepare? How will we help one another stay awake to God’s great love in Jesus Christ?