Reading the Word
Matthew 25:31–46 (ESV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Understanding and Applying the Word
After teaching his disciples that they must always be prepared for his return, Jesus describes what will take place at the end. He uses the illustration of a shepherd who separates his sheep from his goats. In the same way, Jesus will separate all people into two groups: those who belong to him and those who do not. Those who belong to Jesus will enter into the kingdom for eternity. Those who do not will be left out of the kingdom and face eternal condemnation.
We live in a world that has a hard time accepting responsibility. We want to believe that no one has the right to judge our thoughts or actions as right or wrong. We believe those things are only for us to decide. However, the Bible says that we are all sinners. We have all disobeyed the word of God in thought and deed and we all stand condemned as a result. The holy Creator has every right to judge us and he will.
When we realize that we are sinners and stand condemned, there is hope. God has done something truly amazing and unexpected. The One who is Creator and Judge has extended grace to all who will receive it. He has sent his Son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for sinners. Christ suffered and died in our place, taking the punishment we deserve, so we can have life. Those who turn from their sins and trust in the work of Christ for salvation will be saved. Those who place their faith in Jesus become his sheep and belong to him forever. There are only two types of people in the world: those who belong to Jesus and those who do not.
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