So I have always had a bit of a problem with this text because of my interfaith work, my preaching on us loving one another and trying to treat others how we would like to be treated and of course for my view that salvation is available to all. This passage seems to do away with a lot of that...and so, I am here to deconstruct this difficult to sallow passage.
First: let us look at who Matthew is preaching to. Matthew is preaching to a Jewish community - Hebrews. He is teaching those who understand the Old Testament and to those who have been circumcised. Matthew is preaching to a community that is some-what wealthy. Matthew is always trying to prove that Jesus is legit, authentic and worth following. We see much of that in today's passage.
So it shouldn't be disturbing or even shocking to us that the wise bridesmaids do not help the foolish ones. For Matthew is trying to drive the point home: we are each responsibly for our own Salvation and we have to take personal responsibility for our relationship with God. Just as the bridesmaids who didn't bring extra oil had to take responsibility. You see, it was the bridesmaid who traditional led the bride and groom into the banquet, lighting the way.
Now wait a minute there is no mention of a Bride in this story. That is because Jesus here is the groom and the bride is the church - the body of Christ - all of us!
Here comes the difficult part for me - Christ says he doesn't know the foolish bridesmaid when they come back. First this could be a reminder that our faith has to be real. It isn't about just going to church on Sunday mornings but living out our faith. Earlier Jesus says that if we proclaim his name, he will know ours...when death comes we can't con anyone - our true relationship with the divine will be made known.
And since we don't know when death or the end times will come, we must live into Christ at every moment.
I have another thought on this. God has called us to bring Christ to the world. Christ is often called the light of the world. We are to let the light of Christ shine through us so that all may know Christ through us. This means that as Christians we must always remember that we are ambassadors for God. And further we should be letting people know this! If we fail to keep our light shinning then we fail God. We shouldn't be too pushy or try to run other people's faith for faith is truly a personal thing. However, we must remember to give credit where credit is due and because God is in our lives, our lives are changed. We can't forget to share that.
Now what about those who don't know Christ? Or what about those who haven't proclaimed Christ name? OR what about those who still haven't accepted the salvation that Christ has to offer because they are wrestling with their self worth? Isn't this passage a passage of doom for them??
NO! And this is where we as Christians haven't to stop making the damming jumps! For just we must read the passages as a whole - not just the words here in the Bible but looking at the context of it that is what makes it the Word of God.
Matthew here is preaching to a crowd of Jews - he is trying to once again convince them or perhaps just encouraging them to keep their faith in Christ. Meanwhile they are living in two worlds the world of the Hebrews who are Jewish and the world of the Hebrews who believe in Christ.
We can look at Paul for help on this one, for Paul reminds us that those who live by Christ shall be judged by Christ and those who live through the law shall be judged by the law leaving room for all the seekers in the world to fear not we do not damn you for your curiosity. keep on exploring!