Matthew 25:1-30; John 13
IN the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, our Lord, following His prophecy in the twenty-fourth, gives us the parable of the ten virgins. The five foolish virgins were unprepared—had only a superficial experience that soon gave out. The wise ones cannot divide at the last day with the unprepared. Many fanciful and overdrawn interpretations of this parable overlook its simple lesson of proper preparation for the Lord’s return.
This is followed by the parable of the talents. These sums of money represent the various degrees of endowments and abilities which God gives us with which we are to occupy till He comes. The first two men made a short report of their accomplishment; the man who had gained nothing made the longest speech! He had not squandered his gift, mind you, but neither had he used it. “I was afraid” is the secret of many lost lives.
The Lord’s account of the judgment in this same chapter is held by some to be the judgment of nations for their treatment of Israel, by others to be the judgment of professing Christians whose faith does not issue in works. Notice that though the wicked are cursed, it is not “of My Father” (as the righteous were blessed: vv. 34, 41); and though hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, those humans who prefer Satan’s company here must keep it hereafter.
Judas, the son of perdition, begins his work of betrayal. Although it was part of God’s plan, still Judas was personally responsible. It is interesting to note how our Lord told them to follow the man with the pitcher of water. It seems strange guidance, but shows that the tiniest detail is known ahead and all fits together in His plan.
The supper is an ordinance setting forth our Lord’s death till He come. It shows Him as the Passover Lamb whose blood must be applied to our hearts, but it also shows Him as the Bread of Life. This truth is often overlooked. The Passover must be followed by the feast of Unleavened Bread. We see the blood, but easily forget the bread. The life which begins with the blood applied must be continued by the Bread appropriated. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53).
Following the supper, our Lord set forth a very practical lesson in humility (John 13:1-38). What a wonderful contrast here: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God… washed feet.” He could come down from magnificence to meniality! Some of us want to stay on the mountaintop; we do not know the technique of the towel. Peter must have had this incident in mind when later he wrote, “Put on the apron of humility” (1 Pet. 5:5, Williams).
We read that Judas went out “and it was night” (verse 30). It is always night when a soul goes away from Jesus. Then our Lord gives His commandment of love. This is the mark of discipleship, that we love one another.
Simon Peter wanted to follow Jesus now, but was told he should follow afterwards. That “afterwards” is very significant. Peter followed first from Galilee in much self-sufficiency; he had to come to the end of himself before, at Tiberias, he reached the second “follow Me” (John 21:19). The first time he forsook his nets; the second time he forsook himself. We cannot truly follow our Lord until “afterwards”—after we have been broken in self and have come to Tiberias.