Matthew 25:1-46

Matthew 25:1-46

by | May 19, 2004 | Uncategorized

Matthew 25:1-5 – When the Messiah appears it will be the Groom coming with His bride at an unexpected time. The wise virgins are those who are ready when the groom comes while the unwise are not prepared for His coming. The illustration that Jesus gives here lets it be understood that there will be no second chance. We either are ready or we are not. If we are not ready the door to the marriage supper will be closed and outside there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jewish weddings at the time of Jesus set a day for the ceremony but have never been as bound by precision of starting or ending times as weddings here.. The bridal party was to be ready.. The ten virgins of the parable are part of the bridal party. Five realize that a time lapse could occur and come prepared for any delay. Five are foolish and consequently unprepared. The oil is similar to the wedding clothes in the parable in Matthew 22:11-13, it symbolizes an outward profession of faith without real relationship with God.

(2 Timothy 3:5) holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. These are people who have the outward appearance of being believers without its spiritual reality. These are people whose walk and talk do not match.

(James 2:17) Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. There are many within the church who appear to be believers but like the unwise virgins are not prepared for the coming of the Messiah. The delay described in the parable illustrates the truth that the Messiah or Bridegroom is coming at an unexpected time, and not as early as had been hoped. The delay was so long that the anticipation of his coming wore off and both those who were ready and those who were not fell asleep.

The sleeping is not condemned, but the not being prepared is. All of us must carry on in our lives until the Lord comes involving ourselves in the work that God calls us to do. We are not to go to some mountain top and await the Lord’s return, we are to be at work until the Lord returns (Luke 19:13).

Matthew 25:6-12 – Midnight is a time when most people are asleep and work is done. Israel began its journey to the promised land at midnight (Exodus 12:29,31).  The Rabbis taught that just as God provided deliverance from their bondage at midnight, so too the everlasting deliverance would occur at midnight as well.

The shout of the groomsman was an indication that the groom was on the way. So shall the events of the great tribulation be an indication that the Messiah is on the way. Those who were ready trimmed their lamps so that they would be burning brightly at His coming.

The foolish ones now tried to borrow oil for there supply had run out, for whatever reason they failed to get extra provisions when there was time, and now the stores were closed. Perhaps they thought that they would be able to borrow from someone else, but they were wrong. It will be at the coming of the Lord that it will be revealed who is a believer and who is not. Prior to His coming we are continually encouraged to examine our lives and see if we are indeed ready for His coming. (2 Corinthians 13:5). Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you‑‑ unless indeed you fail the test?

This verse is not intended to rob believers of the assurance and security of their salvation. It is, however, intended as a warning to those who would follow false teaching and adopt a life‑style that is inconsistent with the message of reconciliation (1 Corinthians 12:20-21).

The wise bridesmaids were not selfish because they wouldn’t share their oil they just couldn’t do it without causing themselves to be unprepared. This means that the faith that a believer has is not transferable to another. You will not be fit for heaven because of the faith of someone else, we must be prepared ourselves. The parable does not teach that we can buy our salvation either but rather we need to go to the right place to get ourselves prepared.

(Isaiah 55:1).  This passage is a call to revival for all who have wandered far from the Lord or from that grace which is the basis for our relationship with Him. It is also a call to salvation for any who have not known Him, promising a free but abundant and eternal life that is better than money can buy. The call is issued to the thirsty and the penniless ‑‑ all who will recognize their need for spiritual blessing and their inability to meet the need themselves. “Waters” and “wine and milk” are symbols of abundant spiritual blessings.

(Luke 6:47-49).  The foolish virgins were built there lives on a bad foundation and thus were not prepared when the time came for their lives to be tested they were not ready. The groom comes and enters the wedding banquet hall and those who were not prepared were permanently shut out. (Luke 13:25-28).

Jesus then goes on to warn those who are His followers to be on the alert, this is the fifth time in the Olivet discourse that He warns His followers to be on the alert (Matthew 24:36,42,44,50). No man knows the day or the hour of the coming of the Messiah.

Matthew 25:14-15 – Jesus in parables reminds His followers that we have been given a stewardship. We are called to be ministers of the Gospel with the gifts that He has given us.. The parable describes a land owner making preparations for being away by entrusting his servants with caring for his property. The talents represent money but illustrate the various gifts the Lord has given to his servants to use for the maintenance and establishment of His kingdom. Each servant of the Lord has been given different gifts and opportunities to serve.

Matthew 25:16-18 – The man with 5 talents was eager and took his talents and doubled them. He took his talents and put them to work. This is a picture of the believer who immediately serves the Lord with the talents that he has been given. The second servant is a picture of one with less talents but wisely using them to advance the work of the master. The third servants behavior was noticeably different from the first two. He was protecting what he was given but not working or investing the talent given so that it might bring back interest on the investment.

Matthew 25:19-27 – The master was gone “a long time”, so long in fact that his arrival was not expected. The first order of business upon his return was to determine what the slaves had done with what he had entrusted to them. In essence upon his return he judged their performance. The first reported joyfully that he had doubled what he had been given. It was not with boasting simply reporting the facts. The master praises him for his faithfulness and entrusts him with more responsibility as well given the opportunity to partake in the joy of his master (Psalm 16:11;John 15:11) .

The parable is speaking of the joy that will be experienced by God’s faithful servants in the eternal state. Heaven will not be simply one of bliss and idle relaxation, although that will be ingredients present. In the eternal state we will be ruling and reigning with our Messiah. Each of us will be given responsibility that will bless us and allow us to be a blessing. All who are believers will be serving the master in differing roles but it will be done in the way that God intended work to be done.

The example was in the Garden of Eden, where work was done but they were nonetheless in paradise. There was labor but not with the sweat of the brow. There will be no jealousy, envy, or any other of the fruits of the flesh, but an atmosphere of joy in serving our God and man. The second servant receives the same commendation as the first, even though he only brought back 4 talents instead of 10.

The point of the parable was being faithful with what you have been given. Too often we lose our joy because we feel that we have less than our neighbor. The second servant did not spend any time thinking about what he didn’t have but when about his business with what he did have. The result was the same blessing by his master. The third servant did nothing with his talent, he did not even attempt to invest the talent given to him.

This servant in the parable is not a picture of an unbeliever but rather a servant of the master. Just as there are believers in our churches who consider themselves believers but do not take their talents and use them to serve the master and be able to lay any profit at the feet of the master. He also had a horrible perspective of his master thinking him to be a hard and demanding man, as well as being unfair.

These who are believers who see the punitive nature of God without coming to understand His love and grace. This servant is projecting on God his distorted personality, and using that as an excuse, as well as an accusation upon God. When Adam was confronted with his sin, rather than confess he blamed God, “the woman you gave me, caused me to sin”.

This kind of accusation demonstrates a lack of fellowship or love for the master. The response by the master was to accuse him of being wicked and lazy. Wicked because he was falsely appraising his master and lazy because he did nothing with the talent entrusted to him.

God, in His love has given us talents that we should invest to further His kingdom. If we do not use the talents that the Lord has given us we will be held accountable. According to Historical records the Roman government had a banking system. The maximum interest charged on loans was 12% simple interest with investments returning 6%. So the worthless slave could have done that at least (Matthew 24:48-50).

This lazy slaves own words condemned him, he said that the master was a harsh judge, since that was the view of the master was then the servant has no excuse for not knowing that the master would judge him so sternly. It would appear that this excuse was spur of the moment, he had probably thought that the master was not going to come back so that he would be held accountable. The first two servants were like wheat and the third was like chaff (Matthew 13:24ff).

Matthew 25:28-30 – That this man was cast out into outer darkness demonstrates that this man was not a believer at all. He professed to be a servant by his words and his actions he revealed that he was not a believer at all. The judgment for believers is different than those who are believers.

Then the Lord will begin the process of judging the Gentiles or nations.

During the seven year period of the tribulation many Jews and Gentiles will come to faith through the testimony of the 144,000 Jewish believers. He will separate the sheep from the goats, placing the sheep on His right side and the goats on His left. The sheep refers to believers and goats to unbelievers. The right side is a picture of the blessing of the first born (Genesis 48 the blessing of Mannaseh and Ephraim the sons of Joseph).

The Lord welcomes the sheep into the kingdom that had been prepared for them from the foundation of the world. This is an allusion to the gift of eternal life apart from works. It is a legacy not earned (Ephesians 2:8-10). These works and their rewards were prepared from the foundation of the world. The idea of the predestination and free will of the believer are mysteries that only eternity will enable us to fully understand. What this truth should do for us is give us a certain amount of peace with regard to our striving.

We all battle the idea that we need to do things that are in our own strength to please the Lord. The message of the Bible is not what I can do for God but rather to believe and watch what God will do for us. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2-3;1 John 5:14). The works that Jesus commends those who are his sheep during this judgment are the fruit of their faith, the rewards are the result of their faith, not their works. Many people do good works for God but for those works to be of any eternal value they must be based on the finished work of the Messiah (Matthew 7:22-23).

The people the Lord commends for their work do not even consider that their actions were unto Him. They seem to have a humble attitude, surprised by their commendation. While the context of these words apply to specific people and events during the tribulation, they are applicable to us today (James 2:15-17;1 John 3:17-18).

These are not the fantastic works that those who practice lawlessness claim, like the casting out of demons, prophesying, and the working of miracles. It is taking care of the simple everyday needs of those who are our brothers and sisters in the Messiah, in a humble way.

Matthew 25:34-40 Who are the brothers that Jesus is referring to? This section beginning with Matthew 25:32 states that the events described here are in the context of the Lord’s judgment of the nations at the end of the .Great Tribulation. The word nation is used interchangeably with the word Gentile, from the Greek word ethne. There are three kinds of people described in this section: sheep who are righteous Gentiles, goats who are unrighteous gentiles and “my brethren”, which refers to Israel.

The brethren of the Lord are Jewish people who have come to faith during the tribulation and will be the particular object of the anti-Christs and false prophet’s rage (Revelation 12:17). Israel during this time will also experience judgment as described in Ezekiel 20:33-44. Those Gentiles who help Jews during this period demonstrate that they are believers, by being willing to jeopardize their own lives. These works will not save them but reveal that they have a living faith.

Matthew 25:41-46 – To the goats on His left hand Jesus who are unbelievers He will decree their eternal separation and judgment. The basis for this judgment is not that they failed to do works, but their failure to believe in Jesus, evidenced by their failure to do the right thing during the time of Great Tribulation. They will join the devil and his angels in the place of torment, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The description in Matthew 25:46 describes an eternal state for both groups; one to everlasting or eternal life the other into everlasting or eternal punishment.

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