The passage is Luke 14:25-34. Here, in this particular setting of our Lord’s ministry, great multitudes are found following the Lord Jesus. It is just in this setting of great popularity that our Lord gives one of the most comprehensive and searching statements of the cost of true discipleship to be found anywhere in the word of God. And when our Lord gives teaching on the cost of real discipleship, that is synonymous with the nature of real and saving religion. The Bible knows no difference between true discipleship and saving religion. All who are true disciples are the recipients of saving religion. All who have saving religion are bound to Christ in true discipleship.
Now the Parable of the Ten Virgins is obviously set in the customs and practice connected with first-century Palestinian life and culture. And while it is fascinating to investigate the cultural particularities of weddings of that time and place, the great end for which the parable was given to us would be lost if we paused to engage in what would otherwise be innocent antiquarian pursuits.
So I want us to come directly to the passage, pausing to explain certain contemporary first century Palestinian customs only so far as such explanations are absolutely necessary to make plain the meaning of the text. We plunge first of all into the parable by considering, as we must always do with any portion of the Word of God but particularly with parables, the setting or the circumstances in which this parable was given.