Scripture Block: Matthew 25
Source of Texts:New Testament Teachers Manual, Lesson 22,Pages 90-93
I brought this lamp and bottles of oil to the class. The lamp was a souvenir at my law students Jonathan and Michelle Bernardo's wedding while the bottles of scented oils were given by my boyfriend Mark. I found these objects fitting for today's Sunday School lesson on three parables the Savior taught in response to his Apostle's question about his Second Coming.
1. Parable of the Ten Virgins
This parable is based on Jewish wedding customs.In Jesus'time,the bridegroom and his friends would escort the bride from her home to the home of the bridegroom. Along the way,the friends of the bride waited to join them. When they arrive at the bridegroom's home,they all went inside for the wedding.These weddings usually took place in the evening,so those waiting for the bride and bridegroom carried small lamps fueled by oil.
Five of the virgins are considered "foolish" because they took no oil with them so when the bridegroom came they were not able to join in the wedding feast as they hurry to buy some oil at the market. The other five of the virgins are "wise" as took oil in their vessels with their lamps so when the bridegroom came they were ready.
In the parable,the bridegroom represents the Savior,the ten virgins represent members of the Church, the wedding represent the Second Coming and the oil in the lamps represent the preparation for the Second Coming.
"In the parable,oil can be purchased at the market. In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living. Attendance at sacrament meetings, adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting,family prayer,home teaching,control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel,studying the scriptures - each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness,payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions,marriage in the covenant for eternity - these too can contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps". - President Spencer W.Kimball.
2.Parable of the Talents- Matthew 25:14-30
(Ojeda Family during New Year 2011)
"There was a man travelling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered to them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another, one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey".
"Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents".
"And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two'.
"But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money"
"After a long time the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them"
Both the one who had received the five talents and two talents and have doubled the talents respectively were praised by the master, saying: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’
But the one also who had received one talent and was afraid, and hid his talent in the ground was rebuke by the master, saying:"Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not,and gather where I have not strawed"and took away the talent from him, and gave it to the one who has the ten talents.
The man traveling to a far country represents the Lord, the servants represent each of us and the talents represents gifts from God.
"Let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident or noteworthy but that are very important.Among these maybe your gifts - gifts not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.
Let us review some of these less - conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still small voice; the gift of being able to weep;the gift of avoiding contention;the gift of being agreeable;the gift of avoiding vain repetition;the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost. - Elder Marvin J.Ashton
As we develop the talents and gifts God has given us, we add oil to our lamps.
3. Parable of the Sheep and Goats - Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus taught that at his Second Coming he will separate us as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Sheep represent the righteous while goats represent the wicked.
"Jesus taught his followers the parable of the sheep and the goats, representing the judgment to come,in which He clearly identified those who will inherit ' life eternal' and those who will 'go away into everlasting punishment'. The key difference was that those who should inherit the kingdom with him had developed the habit of helping, had experienced the joy of giving and the satisfaction of serving. They had responded to the needs of the hungry,thirsty, homeless,naked,the sick and those in prison..."
As we serve others, we add oil to our lamps.We may also help others add oil to their own lamps.