Welcome to our study about the second Fruit of the Spirit, JOY. Last week we learned that JOY is a fruit that grows out of the seeds of our salvation, fertilized by trials in our lives. This week we’ll study the church’s betrothal and upcoming marriage to the Lamb of God. It’s a time of great JOY as we, the bride, prepare to meet our Bridegroom.
The Parable of the Vestal Virgins
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” (Matthew 25:1) Click to read the rest of Matthew 25:1-13.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 NKJV).
Jesus explained His Father’s kingdom by telling a parable about ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Five foolish ones took no oil for their lamps, but five wise ones took oil in their vessels. As the bridegroom tarried, they all fell asleep. Then at midnight, a cry announced his coming. All the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps, but the foolish five had no oil. The wise ones didn’t have enough to share, so the foolish ones went to buy some. While they were gone the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went into the wedding with him. When the foolish virgins returned, the door was shut and the bridegroom refused to let them in, saying that he never knew them.
Is there any day more JOYous than a wedding day, especially if you’re the bride? Our culture has glorified weddings in recent years with television shows about everything from buying the dress to ceremonies and receptions. Weddings are currently big business—and no expense is spared.
But wedding traditions haven’t always been like today’s. In order to understand this parable, we must first familiarize ourselves with the customs of those times.
Hundreds of years ago, a bridegroom would travel to the home of his bride. Although the bride never knew exactly what time he would arrive, she still had to be dressed and ready to go. Sometimes a bridegroom was late, and the bride waited anxiously for days. But after his arrival, he would JOYfully carry her off to his home. Then they would celebrate with a wedding ceremony and a marriage feast with friends and family, sometimes lasting for days.
The Church is betrothed to Jesus
Who are these virgins in the parable? They represent the sleeping church that is betrothed to Jesus and waiting for His return. We don’t know the day nor the hour of His coming. But when He arrives, those who are saved and full of the oil of the Holy Spirit will be taken to heaven as His bride. Those who aren’t saved will be left behind, knocking at a closed door.
The most JOYful realization is that this event may happen soon. With our shining lamps full of oil, our eyes look up because we know our bridegroom is coming. When Jesus arrives in the clouds with His angels, we who are alive on that day will be caught up to meet Him in the air, along with the resurrected Saints. He will take us to heaven to be His bride and to feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. You can read about this JOYful event, the rapture of the church, here.
Just as today’s bride takes time to groom and adorn herself for that special day, so we must also make ourselves ready to meet our bridegroom. Jesus is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle. Let’s wash away our sins in His blood and anoint ourselves with the pure water of His Word. Let’s clothe ourselves in garments of praise and righteous acts as we wait for the shofar blast to sound from the clouds.
“‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV).
Nothing is more JOYous than a wedding celebration! Would you share some JOYful memories about your special day?
Dear Father, thank you for inviting us to be Your bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb. May we fill our lamps with the oil of Your Holy Spirit and be ready to go home with You at Your appearing. We pray that You send worldwide revival now. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.
Copyright 2020: The Joyful Bride of Christ: Author Karen Jurgens: All Rights Reserved
Karen Jurgens, a Cincinnati native, is a Texan transplant for thirty-five years and counting. Retired from a teaching career, she writes for the Lord, edits fiction, and speaks on Christian topics.
Karen is a Senior Editor, Bible Study Writer, and devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More. She is the Co-Editor and a contributing author for Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Karen holds a B.S. and M.Ed. in Secondary Education with majors in English and French. She is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
Karen’s first novella, published in an anthology, became the springboard for Desire’s Promise and A Perfect Fit. Blogging led her to Inspired Prompts Blog, then Heart “wings” Ministry where she served as Leader for the Front Porch Bible Study Series. Some of her blog posts are also published in Heart“wings” Devotional, as well as in other ministries and blogs.
Currently, she is revising her Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study for publication. Her work-in-progress is a memoir about her “Judas Experience,” a celebration of God’s supernatural deliverance from the enemy’s kiss of deception.
Passionate about how to find God’s peace through life’s storms, she blogs at Touched by Him, her ministry blog.
Karen loves to cook, entertain, and enjoy life with her two adult daughters and her amazing 98-year-old mother.
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