Then; at the time when the Son of man shall come, as foretold in the preceding chapter. The object of this parable is to show that as we do not know when Christ will come, we should so live as to be always ready. Its highest reference is to his final personal coming; but this does not exclude lower references, as that of his particular coming to each individual at death.
To meet the bridegroom; when he went, according to the custom of the age and country, to fetch home his bride by night. Men of very different characters here live together, make similar outward professions, and join in the same employments; but at death the difference between them will be manifest and great.
They that were foolish-took no oil with them; so that the flame of their lamps could not hold out. These correspond to those "sown on stony ground," who "endure but for a time." Mark 4:16-17.
Took oil; to feed their lamps. These agree with those "sown on good ground," who "bring forth fruit with patience." Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15.
Gone out; more literally, going out, for want of oil to recruit them. This shows the consternation of those who are not ready to meet Christ at his coming. It is not safe to rely on outward professions as evidence of piety, nor upon any thing which does not imply supreme love to God and real good-will to men.
Not so; no believer can furnish grace for his fellow-men. This comes only from God.
The bridegroom came; representing Christ as coming before the wicked are ready.
The door was shut; all opportunity of preparing to meet Christ ceases at death.
I know you not; as my friends.
Watch therefore; this was the practical application which Christ made of the parable.
The kingdom of heaven; the object of this parable was to show, that as all our blessings come from God, we are accountable to him, and should so use them as to meet his approbation.
His several ability; representing the various gifts which God bestows on different individuals. All our blessings we receive from God, and to him we are justly accountable for the use of them. He does not give the same to all, and he requires only according to what a man hath. Of course, no one will be condemned for not having received more.
Traded with the same; showing the good improvement he made of what had been given him.
Hid his lord’s money; where he would have no trouble in taking care of it, while he ought to have traded with it for his lord’s profit. This shows that a failure to improve our opportunities to do good is a heinous sin which Christ will severely punish.
The lord of those servants; Jesus Christ.
Those who employ the blessings which God bestows in his service and to his glory, will have their blessings greatly increased.
Make thee ruler over many things; advance thee to a higher station in my service. The principle here stated is perpetually illustrated in Christ’s dealings with his servants in this world, but will have its highest fulfilment at the resurrection of the just.
Good and faithful servant; he receives the same reward as the servant to whom five talents had been entrusted; because it is not the amount of talents given, but the faithful use of them, that Christ regards.
Not strewed; not scattered seed. This showed that he had no love to his lord, no disposition to honor him, or even to be just towards him.
Thou knewest; this may be taken as an argument out of the servant’s own mouth: Didst thou know? Then thou oughtest, etc.
Exchangers; answering nearly to our brokers or bankers. They were persons who dealt in money.
Usury; interest. Lawful and proper increase was the meaning of this word when our translation of the Bible was made, not unlawful interest, as it means now.
Take therefore; as he would not rightly use what he had, he could no longer have it. Those who refuse to employ what God gives them in his service and to his glory, will soon have all their blessings removed, and no more will be given to them for ever.
Every one that hath; a disposition to rightly use the blessings which God gives, is a preparation for more and greater blessings.
That hath not; he that hath not this disposition, when God calls him to account, will be deprived of all blessings, and for his unfaithfulness will be punished as he deserves.
Come in his glory; at the day of judgment.
Separate them; according to their character.
Sheep; the righteous.
Goats; the wicked.
The kingdom; of endless, heavenly glory.
When saw we thee; humility astonished at high honor put on poor services.
Have done it unto me; expressive of the intimate and endearing union of Christ and his people. Jesus Christ considers himself to be treated by men as they treat his known disciples. And from the manner in which we treat them, we may learn the manner in which we treat him.
Ye did not to me; men who neglect the wants of Christ’s people, neglect him.
Everlasting; this is the same word in the original which in the next line is translated eternal, and means the same thing, endless duration. The day of judgment will be one of surpassing interest. The amazing contrast between the appearance of Christ, as he discoursed to his disciples on the mount of Olives, and his appearance when he comes in his glory and the glory of his Father, with his mighty angels-when before him are gathered all nations, and he separates them one from another, saying to one class, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom"; and to the other, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire," and they go away to meet him no more-will be such as we can now but faintly conceive. The clearness with which Christ makes known what will be the future state of the righteous and the wicked, and the liability of all to be at any time fixed in heaven or hell for eternity, should lead each one, without delay, to prepare to obtain the one and escape the other.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 25". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany