Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 26th August 2022: The parable of the Bridesmaids

Matthew 25 Parable Kingdom of Heaven Jesus Second Coming

Reading : Verses from Matthew, Chapter 25

Wise and foolish virgins

Jesus said, ‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 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, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


This parable is also known as 'The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins'. Around 1800 Thomas Blake the poet and artist, painted the first of four versions of the subject for his patron Thomas Butts, and the watercolour here is the first of these. The wise bridesmaids are on the left, tall, pale, elegant and semi-transparent - almost like marble sculptures - as befits those on their way to heaven, we might say. Whereas the foolish bridesmaids are franticly desperate, trying to find more oil for their lamps, and they are shown as darker, more solid figures, depicting those not being gathered into the Kingdom of Heaven. Above at the top of the picture is an angel with a trumpet, almost completely transparent, as befits one who is already close to God. He is calling all those who are spiritually awake for the time of judgement has arrived.

The parable as told by Jesus, reminds us that when the moment comes - when the "bridegroom" arrives - or as we might say when "Jesus returns" for the Second Coming, then we need to be ready to go with Him. We need to be spiritually awake and not spiritually asleep!


Lord Jesus Christ,
as we live our daily life,
may we not forget to include You
in all that we do.
May we ask Your advice;
keep in close contact;
listen for Your voice;
and be ready for the
coming of Your Kingdom.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look up this very short lecture by Constance McPhee on Blake's picture:

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