What Jesus Did! 'Always Be Ready' — Matthew 25:1-13

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

[Talking about his return, Jesus continued:] "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.'

"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. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, 'Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!'

"But he called back, 'Believe me, I don't know you!'

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

— Matthew 25:1-13 NLT

Key Thought

Vigilance is not something we talk about very much. But freedom does require constant vigilance, no matter how clichéd the phrase may become. Faithfulness to Jesus also demands constant vigilance. Impatience, lack of passion, loss of faith, diminished focus on righteousness all eat away at our viability, effectiveness, and preparedness. We can grow cold and disinterested because we are caught up in the pursuits of this world. We can become calloused and indifferent because of trials and difficulties in this life. We can simply give up and quit because our burdens seem unbearable and our helper seems so distant. But he is coming. The wedding invitations have already been sent and the wedding supper for the lamb and his bride, the church, is set. We are simply waiting for the coming of the bridegroom, Jesus, and the great celebration will begin. Let's be ready. Let's be vigilant. Let's have our lamps full and our oil ready, that is, let's always be strong in faith and living for Jesus so that if he comes now, we're ready. But if he tarries, we will still be ready! In the stories on either side of this passage, Jesus is reminding his disciples — and Matthew is reminding his readers, including us — that we must always be ready for the Lord's return. While we don't know when it will be, we know it will be and it could be in the next moment. We need to keep our houses in order because at any moment, Jesus could accept our invitation to come, and we need to be ready to welcome him!

Today's Prayer

O God and Father, Almighty King beyond and above time, give me a heart of expectation as I wait for the glorious return of your Son and my Savior. Forgive me for my impatience, for my lack of vigilance, and especially for my times of passionless discipleship. Give me a sense of adventure, of living on the edge of time waiting for my Savior to return, and may I always have the character that he desires in me so that I am ready and joyous when he does return. In the name of Jesus, the conquering "one riding on the white horse," I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
  • Matthew 24:42, 44
  • Mark 13:35-36


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Illustration of Matthew 25:1-13 NLT — "So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.