This chapter contains three parables in which Jesus expands on His answer to the question we looked at in the last post:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (24:3)
Remember that Jesus answered the first part of the question in 24:4-35 and began the answer to the second part in 24:36 and that continues through the end of chapter 25. Therefore, all three of the chapter 25 parables were given in answer to this question:
what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? (24:3b)
The three parables in chapter 25 are The Parable of the Ten Virgins (25:1-13), The Parable of the Bags of Gold (25:14-30) and The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (25:31-46). The real point of all three of these parables is that Jesus will return when He returns; there will be no particular sign. He will come back on a day that is like any other day, and when He does, we will all be surprised: So, be ready for His coming at all times.
The Parable of the Virgins is easy to understand: There were ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom to arrive; five had oil for their lamps and five did not, which is to say that half were ready for his coming and half were not prepared for it. When the bridegroom came the five who were ready were able to find their way to the banquet while the other five had to rush off in search of lamp oil. When they finally arrived at the banquet the doors were closed and they were left out: A wonderful day for the first five, but a sad coming for those who were unprepared.
The Parable of the Bags of Gold is also easy to understand: The master is leaving on a long trip and before his departure he gave a certain number of bags of gold to three servants, each according to the servant’s ability. By doing this, the master entrusted gold to each servant with the expectation that they will use it wisely to generate an increase in his money. Upon his return, each of the first two servants had doubled the master’s money, but the third one had simply buried the gold, and when he returned it to his master without an increase the master gave that gold to the first two as a reward, and the lazy servant was tossed out on his ear.
The master’s return was a great day for the first two, but not a happy day for the third servant.
The third parable is a little more revealing, for in it, we deal not so much with metaphors (lamp oil and gold) but with the reality of the way we live our lives; we’ll take a look at that one next time…