Like many of Jesus’ parables, this one has an immediate and local meaning, and also wider universal meaning. In its immediate point, it was directed against the Jews . They were the chosen people; their whole history should have been a preparation for the coming of the Son of God; they ought to have been prepared for him when he came. Instead they were quite unprepared and therefore were shut out. Here in dramatic form is the tragedy of the unpreparedness of the Jews.
But the parable has at least two universal warnings.
( i ) It warns us that there are certain things which cannot be obtained at the last minute. It is far too late for a student to be preparing when the day of the examination has come. It is too late for a man to acquire a skill, or a character, if he does not already possess it. It is easy to leave things so late that we can no longer prepare ourselves to meet with God.
( ii ) It warns us that there are certain things which cannot be borrowed. The foolish virgins found it impossible to borrow oil when they discovered they needed it. A man cannot borrow a relationship with God; he must possess it for himself. A man cannot borrow a character; he must be clothed with it. We cannot always be living on the spiritual capital which others have amassed There are certain things we must win or acquire for ourselves, for we cannot borrow them from others.