Thank You, God, for Your loving-kindness towards me.
The Sheep and the Goats “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31–46
Who are the “invisible” people in your community?
Here the judgment day has arrived and Jesus the “Son of Man” is both King (34) and Lord. He comes “in his glory” (31) with the nations gathered at his throne (32). And who are the blessed? Those who have taken seriously the ultimate love command of the Law (Matt. 7:12; 22:36–39; 23:23). Earlier in Matthew Jesus has extended this love command to even our enemies (Matt. 5:43,44).
Jesus’ faithful servants have given food to the hungry (35) and clothes to those without (36), visited the sick and those in prison and provided hospitality to the stranger (36). Even more radical is the idea that “Whatever you did for one of the least of these… you did for me” (40).
We started our series in Matthew’s Gospel with Jesus attacking the religious leaders of Jerusalem for their hypocrisy, for their insistence on being seen and noticed and important. We finish Jesus’ final discourse with a great reversal. Those who are the outsiders, the unimportant, the forgotten are remembered according to the values of the kingdom of God. And once again Jesus stresses that loving God is all about loving one’s neighbor.
Spend some time thinking and praying about what this verse means for how you treat those around you: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). How can you practically show love today?
Thank You for Your endless well of forgiveness.
May we be so rooted in You that we are not governed by our impulses.
Remind us that it is not perfection You desire; Your love is not conditional on our actions.
Help us to have patience and grace for ourselves as we grow.
We pray that our capacity for self-control increases as we surrender to You.
May we love those around us well as they walk this same challenging path.
You are good, even when we fall short.