Jesus was in Jerusalem, about to die. According to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ last teaching hour before Passover is spent telling His disciples parables, including the ones about the ten virgins and the sheep and the goats. These stories are related to the way we should live as we wait for Jesus to come. Thus their relevancy to today — with the signs of Jesus’ soon return all around us — has never been more significant.
In the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-12), many commentators point out that the oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. Ellen G. White agrees, but also says that this oil is a symbol for character and that it is something no one can acquire for us.
Read the parable. In what ways does the meaning of the story change, depending on whether you see oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit or for the possession of character? What are the implications of this story for you if the oil represents the Holy Spirit, or a Christlike character?
Read the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. What criteria are used in separating the sheep and the goats?
Notice that the king separates the sheep and the goats based on their works, their character. Though Jesus is not teaching salvation by works here, we can see how important character development is in the plan of salvation and how those who are truly saved by Christ will reflect that salvation through their lives and characters.
|It has been said that “character is what a person is in the dark.” What sort of person are you when no one is looking? What does the answer tell you about changes that you need to make?|