I said in our study of the story of the wise and foolish virgins that two good answers to the question, How do I know I am ready for the Lord’s return? are: 1) Am I serving the Lord, and 2) Am I serving others because I love him? These answers are provided by the next two parables, the parable of the talents and the parable of the sheep and the goats. They carry Jesus’ warning to watch and be ready a step beyond the first story. It is to the first of these two additional parables that we turn now.

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins has several more lessons that I also want to touch on, though briefly.

Notice that the difference between the wise women and the foolish women was revealed by the coming of the bridegroom. That is, it was revealed in the crisis moment. During the days before the wedding or the night leading up to the start of the feast few would have noticed that five women had adequately prepared for the bridegroom’s coming and five had not. But suddenly the bridegroom came, and the difference was immediately disclosed. The same will happen when Jesus Christ returns. Many who have considered themselves true children of God will be shown not to be, and many who have perhaps not even been regarded as his children will be revealed to be believers.

Today we continue by looking at three more ways in which the two sets of women in the parable of the ten virgins were similar. We start with number five.

The story of the ten virgins is a masterpiece, as Bible students have long recognized. It is realistic in its details and poignant in application. Besides, the deeper one explores it, the profounder its lessons become.