bible study devotion

Keep your oil burning: devotion

A tale of ten bridesmaids

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Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming

Matthew 25: 1-13


The context of this parable is the Jewish wedding. A typical wedding feast in first-century Israel involved the whole community and lasted for 7 days. The bridegroom will lead a procession from the brides’ house to his father’s house accompanied by the bridesmaids to attend the wedding feast. This is a tale of five foolish and five wise bridesmaids who waited for the bridegroom to come and take them into the wedding feast.

The bridesmaids carried olive oil torches and waited for the bridegroom to arrive. The five foolish bridesmaids carried very little olive oil. The five wise bridesmaids carried a lot of olive oil. The bridegroom took a long time to come and all the ten bridesmaids fell asleep. All of a sudden, the bridegroom finally shows up at midnight with a loud cry. The five wise bridesmaids who carried a lot of oil immediately light up their torches, joined the the procession, and attended the wedding feast. The five foolish bridesmaids who runs out of oil pleaded with the wise bridesmaids to lend them oil but they refused. There are shut out from the wedding feast.

The foolish bridesmaids begged the bridegroom to let them into the wedding feast but to no avail. Jesus issues a warning to be vigilant because He will come back at an hour that no one knows. Son of Man is a messianic title of Jesus Christ, signifying His messianic identity.


Every character in a parable represents something. The bridegroom represents Christ. The bride represents the church. The bridegroom showing up suddenly at midnight represents Christ’s second coming at an hour that no one knows except the Father. Olive oil represents relationship with Christ. The foolish bridesmaid represents people who do not have a relationship with Christ. The wise bridesmaid represents people who have a relationship with Christ.

When Christ, the Bridegroom, comes back to earth on His second coming, those who have a relationship with Him will be accepted, but those who do not have a relationship with Him will be shut out.


Are you the wise or the foolish bridesmaid? Are you ready to meet Christ when He returns? Do you carry a lot or very little olive oil?

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, Hebrews 3:15. Do not put off a decision to accept Christ today. Life is so unpredictable. Yesterday is forever gone, tomorrow may not arrive, but today is here, and this is why it is called today.

while it is said, “Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.” Psalm 95:7-8

Hebrews 3:15

Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you read, study, and meditate on His words? Do you pray, worship, fellowship, and obey Him?

Christ, the Bridegroom, promised that He will be coming back soon and we have waited 2000 years. Will you fall asleep when He comes? Do not let your oil runs out. Keep your oil burning until He comes.

You cannot buy or borrow someone else’s olive oil. You cannot buy or borrow someone else’s relationship with Jesus. This is a case of “to each his own”. You cultivate your own relationship with Jesus through spiritual formation. Start cultivating a relationship with Jesus today. Do not wait until the very last moment. It will be too late.


Heavenly Father, thank You for speaking to us today through Your Living Word of eternal life. Give us the wisdom to know You in grace and truth. Fill us the oil of joy that only You can give. Help us to cultivate a relationship with You. Help us to walk with You in this journey called Life. Give us this day our daily Bread. Give us this day, Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.