"The Bridegroom soon will call us, 'Come to the wedding feast.' May slumber not befall us nor watchfulness decrease. May all our lamps be burning with oil enough and more, that we, with Him returning, may find an open door!
"There shall we see in glory our dear Redeemer's face; the long-awaited story of heav'nly joy takes place: the patriarchs shall meet us, the prophets' holy band; apostles, martyrs greet us in that celestial land."
During Holy Week, Jesus told a number of parables about the kingdom of God, faith, and His return on the Last Day. One of these parables is the story of ten virgins, companions of the bride in the wedding ceremony. Holding burning lamps, the virgins wait for the bridegroom to come and claim his bride so the wedding feast can begin. In Jesus' parable, five of the virgins are foolish; they are not well-prepared. Their lamps were going out. Unable to borrow oil from their companions, they go off to buy fuel. The five wise virgins are ready, with lamps brightly burning, when the bridegroom arrives. They are welcomed into the feast while the five foolish virgins are shut out.
Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the church is His bride. So great is the Bridegroom's love for His bride that He "gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water and the Word" (Ephesians 5:25b-26). Our Bridegroom suffered and died on the cross to win forgiveness of sins for His bride and He rose from death to grant us eternal life in His presence. On the Last Day, Jesus our Bridegroom will come to claim us for Himself and take us into His holy presence forever. Then the celebration will begin! The hymn's invitation to the feast echoes the promise of Scripture: "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9b).
A feast and a reunion await us. When Jesus our Bridegroom returns, will have the joy of seeing "our dear Redeemer's face" as we live the "long-awaited story" of eternity that Scripture has foretold. We will be greeted by guests who arrived before us—the patriarchs of ancient Israel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the rest. The prophets, apostles, and martyrs will join in the celebration. We will rejoice with our friends and family members who fell asleep in Jesus.
Jesus asked, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8b). By God's grace, He will find such faith! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are ready for the return of our Bridegroom. Like the five wise virgins of Jesus' parable, we are waiting with our faith brightly burning. When Jesus returns on the Last Day, we will be welcomed to the wedding feast, the marriage supper of the Lamb, a celebration that will never end. Come, Lord Jesus!
THE PRAYER: Savior and Bridegroom, by the power of Your Spirit, keep me watchful, with my faith brightly burning, until You come again. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "The Bridegroom Soon Will Call us," which is number 514 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What do you like best about weddings?
2. How were the virgins foolish in the parable Jesus told? (See Matthew 25:1-13 for the story.)
3. What do you do to stay prepared for the Lord's return?
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