Setting

The second half of the Olivet Discourse continues the theme of preparing for the Lord’s coming. The three sections in this passage all teach us how to be ready for the return of the king. The wise, faithful, and righteous will inherit the kingdom whereas the foolish, lazy, and wicked will be shut out.

Key Verse

(25:13, 23)

Did You Know...?

  1. Ten Virgins (25:1): The bridesmaids, who were responsible for preparing the bride to meet the bridegroom. [ref]
  2. Talent (25:15): The talent was first a measure according to weight, between fifty-eight and eighty pounds (twenty-six to thirty-six kg), and then a unit of coinage, one common value assigned it being six thousand denarii…It may be more sensible to compare the talent with modern currency in terms of earning power. If a talent was worth six thousand denarii, then it would take a day laborer twenty years to earn so much—perhaps three hundred-thousand dollars. [ref]
  3. Bankers/bank (25:27): In Scripture the term bank does not designate a financial institution for the custody of money but rather a “table” or “counter” (Gk. trapeza) at which money changer stood or sat, exchanging coins (Matt. 21:12; Mark 11:15; John 2:15). In Luke 19:23, however, the word apparently approximates “bank” in the modern sense of the word. [ref]

Outline

Segment Analysis

  • 25:1-13

    1.

    How is this parable related to the teachings in 24:36-51?

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    It continues the theme of being watchful. Compare 25:13 and 24:42,44.

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  • 2.

    Why is Christ compared to the bridegroom?

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    When Christ returns, He will receive His bride, the church (Rev 19:7, 21:2)

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  • 3a.

    How were all ten virgins alike in what they did?

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    They all took lamps. They all slumbered and slept. They all arose and trimmed their lamps.

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  • 3b.

    What made the wise different from the foolish?

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    The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

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  • 25:1-13

    4a.

    What does taking enough oil represent?

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    Whether the oil represents the Holy Spirit or good deeds, we should learn from the wise virgins by preparing ourselves spiritually. We need to abide in Christ by living righteous lives (1Jn 2:28; cf Rev 16:15). Only then will the bridegroom acknowledge and welcome us (cf. Mt 25:12).

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  • 4b.

    What does the fact that oil could not be shared tell us?

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    We cannot wait until Christ comes to start preparing ourselves because that would be too late. We also cannot rely on someone else, such as our spouse, parents, or minister, to enter God’s kingdom.

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  • 25:1-13

    5.

    Why did not being watchful lead to such serious consequences (12)?

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    If we indulge in our desires in this life rather than be spiritually sober, we are actually choosing to distance ourselves from God. That is why the bridegroom said to the foolish virgins, “I do not know you.” They confessed the Lord with their mouths, but in their hearts and conduct they were far from God (Jas 4:4, 5).

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  • 25:14-30

    6.

    What must we do with the talents we have received?

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    We must put them to use to help and build up others.

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  • 7a.

    On what basis were the servants rewarded or punished? What does this teach us?

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    This is the principle on which God’s requirement is based, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Lk 12:48). God expects us to give our best according to what we have received (2Cor 8:12). So we should each fulfill our responsibilities without comparing with the work of others.

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  • 7b.

    Was the master a hard man as the servant claimed in 24? Why did the master himself concede to this claim in 26?

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    The servant’s blame on the master all the more proved his wickedness and laziness. He used the excuse that the master would make unreasonable demands and expected him to give beyond his capacity. As we can see in the previous question, this was far from the truth. The master’s concession in 26 does not mean that he agreed with the servant. He was telling the servant that even if he was a hard man, the servant could have at least given the talent to the bank.

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  • 25:14-30

    8.

    What can we learn from 29 in our service?

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    If we do not put our God-given talents to work, we may eventually lose these talents and come under the punishment of our master.

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  • 9.

    How does this parable show the fairness and grace of God?

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    God is fair because He does not require from us what we have not received. He is gracious because He considers us worthy and has entrusted to us talents of great value. In the parable, the faithful servants were given the authority to rule over many things because they had been faithful over few things. Likewise, the reward we receive from God will be much greater than our efforts deserve.

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  • 25:31-46

    10.

    Observe the beginnings of each section in this lesson and explain the reason for the difference between this and the previous two.

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    The third section does not begin with “the kingdom of heaven is like.” This is because the prediction in 31 and 32a is not an analogy but will occur exactly as Jesus predicted. The parable only starts with 32b “as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”

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  • 11.

    On what basis will the final separation be?

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    Humility and love. The sheep were humble in that they served the least of the brethren (40; cf 18:4,5).

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  • 12.

    Who are the least of the King’s brethren (40)?

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    The word “least” here is probably used according to human standards. These least of the brethren would be those whom the people of the world look down on. But the King calls them “my brethren.” In God’s kingdom, even the least significant member (i.e. by worldly standards) is honorable.

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  • 13.

    Apply the following to today’s context and write down what you can do in these areas: a. Feeding the hungry and quenching the thirsty; b. Taking in strangers; c. Clothing the naked: d. Visiting the sick; e. Going to those in prison:

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    a. Feeding the hungry and quenching the thirsty:

    b. Taking in strangers:

    c. Clothing the naked:

    d. Visiting the sick:

    e. Going to those in prison:

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  • 14.

    What can we learn from the fact that neither the righteous nor the wicked were aware of what they had done?

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    The righteous were not aware that they were doing these things to the Lord because of their humility in believing themselves to be “unworthy servants” who were only fulfilling their duties (Lk 17:10). The ignorance of the wicked showed that they had looked down on the little ones, not realizing that they were the King’s brethren.
    We should serve all our brothers regardless of their social or economic standing. While doing so, there is no need to keep record of our good work.

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