Last Sunday of the Church Year Trinity 27
November 20, 2022 A+D
St. Matthew 25: 1-13
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Intro: The flesh takes Jesus’ delay as temptation to despair or as a time to indulge the flesh. That is foolish. Faith believes the Words and promises of Jesus and seeks Him even now where He may be found. That is wisdom.
The foolish virgins are surprised they aren’t let in. Foolishness thinks itself wise. It is impossible for it to be self aware. So it is that we must constantly corrected by Holy Scripture and not rely upon our own judgment.
The virgins spent their oil and had none when they needed it. Foolishness disregards eternity and is driven by a desire for today, to avoid pain and increase pleasure. Thus we must be defined by our history as recorded in the Bible and ever oriented toward the Last Day.
C. The Gospel itself is considered foolish to the wise. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:18–25, NKJV)
Unnecessary. God could have spared Himself the pain by simply forgetting about sin or offering amnesty. Problem: then God would be unjust.
It is God’s own fault anyway. Why create us with free will? Why set up a standard that men can’t meet? We didn’t ask to be born. Problem: God’s motives judged. Makes God the author of evil.
If Jesus died for everyone, then everyone will be saved. Problem: Universalism.
III. The Wise Virgins
In contrast to all that, wisdom is hidden in the mystery of Jesus death and resurrection. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory. The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Co 2:6–7.
The wise virgins knew the hidden mystery: the Bridegroom doesn’t lie. They didn’t give up hope. They weren’t perfect or without sin, they all fell asleep, but they had faith.
That which God has ordained before the ages for our glory is the atonement, the reconciliation, the rescue and elevation of the human race by the Incarnation. The Bridegroom loves us.
Wisdom is defined by the past and oriented toward the future but comfortable in today. For the Bridegroom who comes in glory at the end, comes now in humble ways. The Bridegroom’s announcement is mercy. It is a call to faith. He wakes us up so that we have time to trim their lamps. Wake up now. Get oil for your lamps in Word and Sacrament. Be sober and joyful. Jesus is coming.
Those who are foolish are confident that they are wise, while those who are truly wise know they are fools. We are fools and have failed to live up to the standards of the Law. Yet we also know that the mercy of God endures forever. We know that Jesus’ death was not in vain, that He seeks and eats with sinners, that our Baptisms are valid. We are more confident and comfortable in the undeserved love of Christ than we are in that 2+2=4. We know that Jesus loves us, that He lives, and that He is coming back to get us.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.