Expectant and Prepared to Worship
When we are expecting guests for dinner, we spend the day preparing.
- buying groceries
- cleaning the house
- setting the table
- cooking the meal
When we are expecting to go on a vacation, we spend weeks preparing.
- deciding what to pack
- planning what we will see
- making sure passports are up to date
When we are expecting a baby, we spend months preparing.
- decorating the baby’s room
- buying baby clothes, bassinet, bibs and diapers
- reading about how to care for a newborn
In this month long season of celebration of the birth of Jesus, how are we prepared to properly honor and worship him?
Are we expectant and prepared for the coming return of the Redeemer King?
Expectant and Prepared for the Bridegroom
In Matthew 24 Jesus talks about his future return and tells us to notice the signs and to keep watch – that although we don’t know the exact time of his return, it will happen!. He follows this with a couple of parables (stories with a message) in Matthew 25: The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids and The Parable of the Talents. He ends Matthew 25 with further instruction on the Final Judgement. These parables are clearly important!
He starts his stories by saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven will be like…”
When Jesus says these words, he wants us to immediately drop all our preconceived notions of what we think or feel about God and Heaven. He is about to tell us something important, but he cloaks it in a story that we have to work at understanding. This search for truth isn’t for the fainthearted or lazy. In fact, many of his parables condemn such a person – in particular the two that are found here in Matthew 25. That is the way that it is with God. He gives us everything but he expects us to be serious about it.
In the first parable, the bridesmaids are chosen members of the bridal party but 5 of them are foolishly unprepared for the coming of the groom (Jesus). They know he is coming, they just don’t know when. When the eventual shout goes out, “Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him,” they find themselves shut out of the marriage feast because of their lack of expectant watchfulness. They have grown weary of waiting, and careless in preparation. They have no oil in their lamps!
- The lamp in this story represents the spirit of a person.
“The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart (true thoughts and motivations).” Proverbs 20:27
- The oil is the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us (Romans 8:11). We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph.5:18) as he is the guarantee of our entry into the kingdom of God. (Eph. 1:14 and 2 Cor.1:22)
The foolish bridesmaids had no oil in their lamps! In other words, they were not filled with the Holy Spirit. This has left them unprepared.
Christmas is a busy time of preparation for wonderful times of sharing with family and friends. But let’s remember that the baby Jesus is a man fully grown, crucified, and arisen. His work is finished. He will return to gather his church, to bring judgement against evil, and a righteous rule. Are we expectant and prepared?
How can we be prepared?
During this season of Advent, take time each day to open the Word of God. God’s word is the lamp that brings the light of understanding to guide us through the darkness of these days. Don’t be lulled to sleep by the cozy warmth of Christmas or distracted by its busy demands. Seek God while He may be found.