Week 14: Day 1 - Sunday (March 31, 2019)
Thought I would share the Bible study that goes along with the message today.
The plot to arrest Jesus is at hand. We are heading closer and closer to the cross. These final two parables are apocalyptic parables. Their function is to strengthen believers to remain faithful in difficult times knowing that God will indeed come and redeem his people. Although it speaks of a series of future events climaxing in the arrival of Jesus in glory, its emphasis is on faithfulness.
Lent - Week 4
Parable Of The Ten Young Bridesmaids
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t bring oil for them. 4 But the wise ones took their lamps and also brought containers of oil.
5 “When the groom was late in coming, they all became drowsy and went to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the groom! Come out to meet him.’
7 “Then all those bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 But the foolish bridesmaids said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out.’
9 “But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘No, because if we share with you, there won’t be enough for our lamps and yours. We have a better idea. You go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 But while they were gone to buy oil, the groom came. Those who were ready went with him into the wedding. Then the door was shut.
11 “Later the other bridesmaids came and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us.’
12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore, keep alert, because you don’t know the day or the hour.
Are you a patient person? What if there is something amazing about to happen? How do you wait?
Waiting. Waiting can be hard for many people. Waiting can cause anxiety and stress. Waiting. But what are we waiting for? Sometimes we forget in your busy, instant world and lives that we are waiting. Christianity as a waiting religion. We are waiting with a purpose. Awaiting the fullness of the “kingdom of God”.
In this passage, the bridesmaids represent Christians who await the bridegroom, Jesus. The bridegroom’s delay alludes to the fact that Jesus has not returned as soon as many had hoped. The marriage feast symbolizes the life of the age to come, and the closed-door stands for the last judgment.
The ten bridesmaids await a bridegroom’s arrival when the wedding festivities will begin at last. When fullness will arrive. But the wait proves to be difficult, as it usually is for people with high expectations.
The ten who wait look almost identical, except for one detail. All are bridesmaids. All were invited. All want to see the bridegroom and join the party. All wait into the night. Even the five wise bridesmaids fall asleep, too; none is especially heroic or invulnerable.
Only one difference separates the two groups: some, those described as wise, were prepared for the bridegroom’s absence. These five took pains to do what was necessary while the bridegroom remained away, symbolized by their surplus lamp oil. The others, the foolish ones, are exposed when they find their lamps empty at the big moment: because they did not bother to equip themselves to wait the right way.
If you notice, all the action takes place on this side of the closed door. The emphasis is on what happens while waiting. How are we waiting? We live in a world that waits, suffers and lacks justice. There is a need for Jesus in lives right now. We should not be overcome by sleepiness, the door is not closed yet.
So how do we wait? It is a waiting that is full of faith. Faithful waiting has a few characteristics. Faithful waiting is eagerly expecting and diligently preparing. It is waiting in confidence that the Kingdom of God will arrive. It is waiting actively, actively participating in our faith together, to grow together, to serve together, invite, and baptize.
Faithful waiting also prompts us to consider others who experience unfulfillment or absence in their own lives, especially absence of opportunity, the absence of justice, or absence of hope. And so faithfulness must also consist in serving those who are poor, oppressed, and outside. It involves working for reconciliation.
The idea of passivity in the Christian life is not an option. Readiness means meeting with those inside the church, growing in our faith, building a caring, involved community. It means meeting the needs of those outside our doors and around the world.
We don’t have to wait for the fullness of the Kingdom to see God in action. God is acting and moving and doing amazing things all around us. The question is, are we alert, prepared and actively waiting?
Engage The Word:
1. What does this passage teach us about God?
2. What was the final warning of Jesus and how does it apply to us today (Matthew 25:13)?
3. What does this passage teach us about redemption?
1. Do you think of your faith in terms of waiting?
2. How can you wait with an active faith?
3. What gets in your way of doing this?
4. What is expected of us as we try to live out an active, faithful readiness?
At Webster Hills we talk about being Fully Engaged. Fully Engaged means having each of the following as part of our spiritual walk:
1. Worship - attending worship together in our multi-generational community.
2. Serve - serve others down the hall, outside our doors and around the world.
3. Small Groups - Join a small group/Sunday School class to grow together and deepen our faith in community.
4. Generosity - living a life that reflects the generosity of Jesus.
Where do you need to take your next step? Pray and share with the group next week where you are stepping out in faith.
Dear Lord, show us where we are not fully engaged followers. Lord, show us where we are not prepared and actively waiting. Lord, we turn to you for guidance, support and faith to move boldly forward. I want to give my all to you. In Jesus name, Amen.
2) Respond to a question above.