In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells a parable subtitled in most Bible’s as The Sheep and the Goats. I’ve read and heard different dissertations on this passage and most have pointed to the truth that Jesus was implying that if we are righteous then we will feed, supply drink, be hospitable, taking care of the sick and visiting people in prison; meeting the most basic of needs of others around us.
…But something else struck me as I’ve read this passage before. Maybe Jesus was saying something else that isn’t quite as obvious. I believe that he was speaking not just about the physical needs of others, but the spiritual needs. After all, isn’t God primarily concerned with the condition of our hearts? So let’s break this down a bit…
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 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. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
There is going to be a separation of peoples into two groups and here are the deciding factors…
34 “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. 35 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, 36 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.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “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.’
41 “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. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 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.’
44 “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?’
45 “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.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
This is serious business, so as I dove deeper into this passage, this is what I discovered. That for each physical representation there is a spiritual representation as well.
*Part 2 tomorrow...