Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Matthew 25:1 - 25:13

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Matthew 25:1 - 25:13


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Mat_25:1-4. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. There did not seem to be much difference between them. They were all virgins, they all carried lamps, their lamps were all lit; sad, peradventure, the lamps of the foolish were quite as bright as those of the wise. The difference was unobservable to most onlookers, but it was an essential and fatal difference. Ah! dear friends, it is the lack of oil that is the ruin of many a professor’s lamp. Men have a name to live, but they have not the true life which is the evidence of the effectual working of the grace of God within their souls. They make a profession of religion, but they have not the secret grace to keep it up. There is a glitter and flash, but there is no permanency; and there cannot be any, unless the Spirit of God be in us indeed, and of a truth. We may make a fair show in the flesh for a while, but what will be the end of it? This is the all-important question,— Can we hold on and hold out? Certainly, not without that heavenly oil which only the Spirit of God can supply.

Mat_25:5. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

Oh, how sadly true it is that, sometimes, true saints as well as mere professors slumber and sleep! Even those who have the oil of grace are not always wide awake to serve their Master, and to proclaim the gospel as they should. There are, alas! sleeping believers and sleeping hypocrites side by side.

Mat_25:6-7. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

They were suddenly awakened, and they leaped to their feet,—

Upstarting at the midnight cry,

‘Behold the heavenly Bridegroom nigh!’

They all trimmed their lamps. That was the first thing for them to do, to look to their torches, and have them ready. They could not meet the Bridegroom in the dark; they must each have a light; so they began their lamp-trimming. It is a pity to have to trim your lamp at the last. O dear friends, it is hard work, upon a dying bed, to have to be tending to one’s lamp! You want your evidences to be bright there,— your faith to be firm, and all your graces brilliant. There must be no doubts and questions there, else they make a dying bed feel hard as granite to the head. May we none of us have at last to trim our lamps! Those virgins who had oil in their vessels were able to trim their lamps; and, though the work was done hurriedly, it was done, and they were able to take their places in the bridal procession.

Mat_25:8. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

The modern rendering of this request is, “Send for the minister, and ask him to pray for us, for our lamps are gone out.” Take heed, I pray you, you who are bold professors now,— lest you should have to say at the last, “Our lamps are gone out.” It was too late for trimming and lighting then.

Mat_25:9-10. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; test there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; —

There are death-bed repentances, undoubtedly; but I fear that, in the great majority of cases, people who wake up so late will find that, while they go to buy, the Bridegroom will come, and there will not be, after all, the time in which to find the Saviour. The mental capacity with which to think of him may fail. The poor head may be so distracted with pain that it may not be able to catch the meaning of what faith in Christ is, or how it can be exercised; and so, the lamp will have gone out, and it will be too late to buy the oil which alone can make it burn. “While they went to buy, the bridegroom came; “

Mat_25:10-11. And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other margins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. “Open the door at least to us, for we came to meet thee, and we carried lamps, and we were with the other virgins: ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’” You know, perhaps, those striking lines which describe the foolish virgins request, and the Bridegroom’s response to it,—

Late, late, so late; and dark the night and chill!

Late, late, so late; but we may enter still.’

‘Too late! Too late! Ye cannot enter now.’

Mat_25:12. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

When that door is once shut, it will never again be opened; all Scripture goes to prove that. There are some who foolishly dream about an opening of that door, after death, for men who have died impenitent; but there is nothing in Scripture to warrant us in having any such expectation. The anal answer of the Bridegroom to these foolish virgins is, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

Mat_25:13. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

That is, we do not know when it will be. Some have foolishly said, “We do not know the day, or the hour, of Christ’s coming, but we may find out the year.” We shall not do anything of the kind; the time is hidden altogether, it is not revealed to us, and it shall not be known till, suddenly, the Lord himself shall come in the clouds, with his bright heavenly retinue, to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. Wherefore, be always on the watch, beloved, “for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” God help us to be ready for his appearing at any moment, for his dear name’s sake! Amen.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mat_24:42-51; and Mat_25:1-13.



Mat_25:1-2. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, And five were foolish.

What a division this makes in the visible Church of God! Let as hope that we are not to gather from this that as many as half the professors of Christianity at any time are like these foolish virgins; yet our Lord would not have mentioned so high a proportion if there were not a very large admixture of foolish with the wise: “Five of them were wise, and five were foolish.”

Mat_25:3. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

They thought that, if they had the external, it would be quite enough. The secret store of oil, they judged to be unnecessary, because it would be unseen. They would employ one hand in carrying the lamp, but to occupy the other hand by holding the oil-flask seemed to them to be doing too much,— giving themselves up too thoroughly to the work; so they “took their lamps, and took no oil with them.” They might just as well have had no lamps at all.

Mat_25:4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Oil in their lamps, and oil with their lamps. Lamps are of no use without oil; yet the oil needs the lamp, or else it cannot be rightly used. The light of profession cannot be truly sustained without the oil of grace. Grace, wherever it exists, ought to show itself, as the oil is made to burn by means of the lamp; but it is no use to attempt to make a show unless there is that secret store somewhere by which the external part of religion may be maintained.

Mat_25:5. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

Both the wise and the foolish fell into a state which seemed alike in them both. In the case of good men, Christ’s delaying his coming often causes disappointment, weariness, and then lethargy, and even the true Church falls into a deep slumber. In the foolish, the mere professors, this condition goes much further. There being in them no true life, the very name to live becomes abandoned, and before long, they give up even the profession of religion when there is no secret oil of grace to sustain it.

Mat_25:6. And at midnight

When things had come to the worst,—at midnight”— the coldest and. darkest hour, when everybody was asleep.

Mat_25:6. There was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

That was a cry which startled everybody; none of the virgins could sleep when once it was announced that the bridegroom was coming. I wish, dear friends, that we thought more of the great truth of the Second Advent. The oftener it is preached, in due proportion with other truths, the better. We need still to hear that midnight cry, “Go ye out to meet him.”

Mat_25:7. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

They could not sleep any longer; they were fairly startled and aroused.

Mat_25:8. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil;

Ah, me! now they began to value what they had aforetime despised. They were foolish enough to think that oil was unnecessary; but now they saw that it was the one essential thing, so they cried to the wise virgins, “Give us of your oil.” And hear the dreadful reason: —

Mat_25:8. For our lamps are gone out.

I do not know any more terrible words than those, “Our lamps are gone out.” It is worse to have a lamp that has gone out than never to have had a lamp at all. “’Our lamps are gone out.’ We once rejoiced in them. We promised ourselves a bright future. We said, ‘All is well for the marriage supper.’ But ‘our lamps are gone out,’ and we have no oil with which to replenish them.” O sirs, may none of us ever have to lift up that mournful cry! On a dying bed, in the extremity of pain, in the depth of human weakness, it is an awful thing to find one’s profession burning low, one’s hope of heaven going out, like the snuff of a candle.

Mat_25:9. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

It is no easy matter to go and rouse up the seller of oil when the midnight hour has struck. O you who are putting off repentance to a dying bed, you are foolish virgins indeed! Your folly has reached the utmost height. You will have more than enough to do, when you lie there with the death-sweat cold upon your brow, without then having to seek the grace which you are neglecting to obtain today, but which you will value then.

Mat_25:10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; —

While they were going.

Mat_25:10-11. And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

Too late, so that they could not enter.

Mat_25:12. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

“I never knew you,” says Christ in another place; and this knowledge of his is always bound up with affection. He loves no heart that he knows not in this sense. Those whom he knows, he loves. Will he ever say to me or to you, dear friend, “I know you not”? God grant that he never may have cause to do so I

Mat_25:13. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.