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lesson 13




Fig Tree  Mt 24:32-35; Mk 13:28-31; Lk 21:29-33

10 Virgins  Mt 25:1-13

Watchful Servants  Mk 13:34-37



I. Background to the Parables


                1. Context

a.   These 3 parables are given during the final week of Jesus’ life, in Jerusalem.

b.   A disciple praised the temple and its buildings.  Jesus responded that not one stone shall not be torn down, Mk 13:1-2.

c.   The disciples then asked 3 questions, “When will these things be?”, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

d.   The 3 parables are a part of Jesus’ answer to these 3 questions.


                2. Definitions/Cultural Insights

a.   At that time, it was customary for the bridegroom to lead a procession to his future bride’s home, get his bride, then lead the procession to his home for the wedding celebration.

b.   A servant of the groom would then check people’s invitations to be sure only the invited attended.  Then, at the command of the groom, he would shut the door.  After that absolutely no one would be allowed to enter and celebrate.



II. Understanding the Parables


1. Remember …these 3 parables are part of the answer to the 3 questions, when and what signs, about the destruction of the temple, the end of the age, and the coming of Jesus.


2. The fig tree… this is a time of learning from nature, “Learn the parable…”, Mt 24:32. As the sign of tender twigs and leaves coming out tells (when) summer is near, so the signs of Mt 24:3-31 tell when the destruction of the temple will take place.


3. The 10 virgins…connects with being ready for the coming of Jesus.  The focus is on behaving wisely and foolishly.

a.   The foolish took no oil, so weren’t prepared for any possible problem or delay.

b.   The wise took extra oil, planning ahead and spending extra money, thus preparing for possible problems/delays, which did occur.

c.   As a result the wise were allowed entrance to the wedding banquet, the foolish weren’t, due to their tardiness.

4. The watchful servants… like the virgins, had tasks to accomplish.

a.   Like the virgins, they didn’t know when the master would return,  Mk 13:33, 35. 

b.   Therefore, they should be watchful, :33, 35, 37.



III. Consideration and Application of the Parables


1.       Remember the Context…

Mt 24 and 25 are frequently misunderstood because they are taken out of context.  Remember the context means that you let your understanding of the Scripture come from the whole text; in this case the statements and 3 questions of Mt 24:1-4, when and what signs concerning the destruction of the temple and the end of the age, and what would be the sign of the coming of Jesus.  When studying, do you focus on one verse/one story or do you let the context of the paragraph, chapter and book guide you?


2.      Be Wise…

The 5 virgins were wise because they prepared ahead of time for possible problems.  It took a little extra work, time and money - they had to go and buy extra oil.  But when the delay came, they were ready.  How would this apply to you and your family?  To you and the church, to you and your ministry, to you and the Lord’s second coming?


3.      Be Watchful…

The signs and events concerning the destruction of the temple and the end of the Jewish age have been fulfilled.  We need to consider - are there signs which precede the second coming of Jesus, and if so, what do we watch for?  Predominantly the Scriptures say Christ will come as a thief, so no signs,1 Ths 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10.


4.       Be Responsible…

While waiting for the Lord to come, each of us needs to carry out the tasks God has given us; as an individual in relationship with God, family, church, friends, work mates, and the lost.  Will God find you doing your work heartily as unto the Lord, Col 3:23 or being lazy or foolish?  Will you enter the wedding feast of the Lamb or be cast into the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth?



IV. Memory Verse - Mt 25:13

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