“Try one of these!” my brother urged.

“Try one of these!” my brother urged. Inquisitively, I popped the little green fruit in my mouth. “Urrgghh!!” That was my first experience of an olive! Over time, I have come to enjoy olives, both green and black. As interest in foreign foods has grown, food halls now tend to stock a huge range of the little fruits, sometimes stuffed with garlic or pimentos, or in a flavoursome marinade, evoking thoughts and smells of the Mediterranean. Bars and restaurants often serve them with drinks before or at the start of a meal. Olives are very versatile. They can be eaten as they are, preserved for later use, or pressed to give oil for eating, cooking, medicinal purposes or producing light. The Bible often refers to olive oil because the land of Israel had (and still has) many olive groves, and olive oil was a staple for the people of the land. Olive oil was used in the lamps in the temple – lamps which were to be kept burning all the time; it was used in bread-making; it was used in the anointing of the priests and the kings of the land; and in the parable of the Good Samaritan, we see olive oil used to help treat the wounds of the assaulted man. In one of Jesus’ last parables (Matthew 25:1-13), olive oil takes on a very special meaning. Ten bridesmaids each take their lamp and go out to meet the bridegroom. Five took just the lamp but no spare oil, the others took spare with their lamps. The bridegroom was delayed, the bridesmaids fell asleep, and their lamps went out. When they awoke to the bridegroom’s arrival, they quickly tried to relight their lamps. The wise had spare oil which they could use but not share; the foolish were forced to source more oil, and so missed the bridegroom’s arrival. The oil can represent faith that comes by hearing the word of God and accepting its teaching and the light it gives to guide our lives. The wise prepared well, reading and thinking about it before the bridegroom (Jesus) came. The foolish had not applied themselves to what God had put down in His word so lacked the faith required for Jesus’ return. May we be wise by reading the Bible now to develop our faith in God’s ways, so when Jesus comes we will be prepared with our lamps ablaze. pershore.bible pershore-christadelphians.org

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