“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For 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, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”” (Matthew 25:1–46, ESV)
Jesus continues to teach about the end of the world, the coming of the Son of Man, and final judgment. The kingdom of heaven is compared to ten virgins and their waiting for the bridegroom. The kingdom of heaven broke through in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells a wedding parable about ten virgins. These women are similar to a modern day bridesmaid, and they would accompany the bride to the home of the bridegroom. Half of these maidens make preparation and half do not. The bridegroom is delayed, and so these young women sleep. At midnight, the bridegroom arrives, and they are awakened quickly by a cry of urgency that he had arrived. The maidens that had acted wisely were prepared but those that were not prepared asked for assistance. The women that were not ready went in search of oil and missed the arrival of the bridegroom. By the time they figured it out, it was too late, and they were left out of the feast. This parable points to the reality that the return of the bridegroom would be unexpected, and many would be caught by surprise. The admonition is to watch and be ready because no one knows the exact hour of Christ's return.
The parable of the talents is the encouragement to be diligent and faithful while anticipating the master's return. A master leaves, and he entrusts his servants with his property. The servants are given various sums of money to watch over in his absence. Two of the servants are faithful while one is not. The one who is unfaithful is punished. The servant complains about the master expecting too much and his doing business in a foreign land instead of remaining at home. The lie is that it is the master's right to give as he sees fit and to conduct his business as he sees fit. This was simply an excuse used by the servant to cover his laziness. The point of the parable is not how many talents one has; it is that failure to see that everything we have belongs to the master and that we must steward well what we have in this life because we are living for the life to come.
The Son of Man will not come in humiliation as he did at his first advent, he will come in glory. People will see his revelation and acknowledge his glory. He will not be an infant living in obscurity; he will be a king ruling in power. Jesus will judge the nations and like a shepherd, he will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus is the righteous judge. The sheep that belong to the good shepherd will enter into his rest because their genuine faith had been evident by the way they lived, loved, and served others. They will enjoy his kingdom. On the other hand, those on the king's left will be ordered to depart. Those who lived for themselves and their glory did no deeds of kindness, nothing at all done out of love to God. These will not inherit a kingdom prepared for them, but one which was prepared for the devil and his angels. The King is the final Judge and he will act in strict justice. Those who spend their lives wanting nothing to do with God will granted their request.