Our scripture this week is Matthew 25:1-13, today from the English Standard Version (ESV).

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

When the time comes, it is too late to get ready. We must be prepared in advance. Like the warnings we receive of impending severe weather, we have been told that Jesus is returning. No amount of frantic action on our part will be effective then.

Jesus doesn’t want us to miss out on the blessing He brings, so He tells us many times in scripture “be ready”. In Luke 21:36 Jesus says “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” We won’t be able to say we didn’t know He was coming when that day arrives.

For all the important and dire sounding words, Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid. He said we won’t know when but we know what to expect. He tells us this that we may be ready to welcome Him back, set to receive the gift of salvation promised to those who are faithful.

Loving Lord, we don’t always understand but we always trust inYou. Help us to stay ready, loving God and one another, and keeping watch until Your return. Amen.

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