In this text, there are several elements to consider: There is a bridegroom, there are virgins, lamps, light, darkness and oil. Finally, there is a wedding feast. When the bridegroom finally comes for His bride, only half of the 10 virgins are prepared for his arrival. It is a dark night, and they must light their lamps as they hasten out into the darkness to meet the groom, but those who are unprepared do not have enough lamp oil for their lamps to remain lit, so they rush off to the store to buy some, while the other five go out to meet the bridegroom. He sees their light and comes running to them, and they all go into the wedding feast together. Sadly, the ones who were not prepared are late and are not recognized when they try to enter the banquet.
The bridegroom represents Jesus, who is returning after a long absence to the scene; the second coming. The virgins represent His Bride, the Church. The oil represents preparedness. The darkness represents this dark world, devoid as it is of the light which is His Truth. The lamps represent His Bride, the Church, shining the light of His Truth to a dark world. The wedding feast represents the union of Christ and His Church in eternity upon His return.
Jesus’ last line here is telling: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (25:13)
Those virgins who were prepared for the bridegroom’s return: Were they watching for signs, or were they watching for the Bridegroom?
The answer is that they made sure they were prepared at any and every moment of every day, in case he should come for them, and they watched for his coming. The ones who were not prepared were looking for signs so they would know when to get ready.
If Jesus returns today, will we be ready?