Gospel Parables refers to the simple allegorical stories that were commonly applied by Jesus in most of His teachings to the multitudes, as it is evident in the Gospel books of the New Testament. Those parables were designed to teach or illustrate some moral lessons or religious principles, among other key aspects.
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The parables in the synoptic gospels basically proclaimed the Kingdom of God and were used as a way of defining the Kingdom itself (Green, 1997). In this case, certain things or symbols would be compared to the various aspects that surrounded the kingdom.
One good example of a parable that was used by Jesus to tell about the Kingdom of God was the story of the ten virgins, which is highlighted in chapter 25 of the book of Matthew, from verse one to thirteen. This parable tells the story of ten maidens who prepared for a wedding feast and were waiting for the bridegroom, so that they could receive him to the feast.
In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to ten virgins who were preparing to meet the bridegroom (Hultgren, 2002). However, half of the ten maidens were wise, while the other half were foolish. Those who were wise knew better and were much informed than the foolish ones.
In this regard, they proved to be much prepared to meet the bridegroom compared to the foolish ones, and when the moment came, they would take oil in their vessels along with their lamps. However, the foolish ones took their lamps as well, but without any spare oil with them. Now it happened that the bridegroom had delayed to appear in the expected time, and all the ten maidens had fallen into sleep.
Come in the midnight, the air was full of cries signaling the eventual arrival of the bridegroom. Suddenly, the ten maidens arose and lit up their lamps. The wise ones had their lamps full of oil and could burn for long hours, but the foolish lot was facing the fate of getting into darkness, for their lamps were going out for lack of extra oil.
Meanwhile, the five foolish maidens approached the wise ones and pleaded with them for a share of oil to sustain their lamps, which were almost going out. However, the wise dismissed them by claiming that the oil won’t be enough to be shared among them and that it would be rather good for their friends to go to the sellers and get to buys oil for themselves.
The foolish maidens had no other option, but to go out in search for oil and it was while they were away when the bridegroom finally showed up for the feast. The bunch that was ready accompanied him into the feast, and the doors were finally closed, locking out any intruder who might try to force their way into the feast.
Later on, the other five maidens also came and they cried out loudly, calling for the Lord of the feast to open the door for them, but the master responded by claiming that, he didn’t know them (“The Parables of Jesus Christ,” 2009). Jesus ended this story by warning his followers to remain watchful and alert all the time, for no one can tell of the moment when the Son of Man will show up.
The message of this parable to the contemporary Christian is not different from what Jesus was trying to teach his followers then; to remain watchful. This simply means that, Christians should always be prepared to receive Jesus, when He returns. Several symbolic aspects have been used in the story, to bring out the real meaning of the parable, as it was intended by Jesus Himself.
First of all, the oil represents the Holy Spirit and the things He uses to guide Christians to Christ. The two categories of maidens, on the other hand, are used to represent the two types of Christians; those who follow Christ with their full hearts and those who follow Him only in a nominal sense.
The ones who follow Him with their complete sense are strong and they dwell in Him, rather than beside him in every situation (Wood, 2005). However, the other lot of Christians has been likened to the foolish girls, who quickly fall away, whenever troubles or temptations present.
This parable teaches the contemporary Christian society to remain loyal to Christ and His teachings. In this regard, it is the responsibility of each and every Christian to abide by the teachings of Christ and to live by His directives all the times. Christians are expected to take their Christian faith and belief seriously, and avoid any form of temptation which is likely to betray their salvation status.
More importantly, it is also the responsibility of Christians to ensure that their actions do indicate the levels of faith which are acceptable by God. Christians should not be too presumptuous, but they ought to be fully prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven, which had been promised to them by the master Himself.
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Just like in the case presented in the parable, only those who’d be found prepared are the ones the master would take along with Him, to join the Kingdom of Heaven.
Green, J. (1997). The gospel of Luke. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
Hultgren, A. (2002). The parables of Jesus: A commentary. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
The Parables of Jesus Christ: The Parable of the Ten Virgins. (2009, Feb 9). The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources, pp. 32-45. Retrieved from http://www.bcbsr.com/survey/pbl20.html
Wood, J. (2005). The parable of the ten virgins. Montana: Kessinger Publishing.