Looking Back Over Jesus’ Life
My faith has been formed by the words of Jesus. In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus gives us three stories which help us to focus on life in the Kingdom of God. The third is found in Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
This story is very pointed. One group gets praise and a wonderful forever in the kingdom, while the other doesn’t do so well. And the difference in the future seems to hinge on how one showed kindness in the past.
Where Matthew 25:1-13 talks about being prepared to meet our Maker, and Matthew 25:14-30 encourages us to use our talents, Matthew 25:31-46 identifies those on whom we may want to focus: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick., the imprisoned.
There’s a hurting world out there (and really not that far away from any of us). As we share and care for each of them, we have shown the love that we profess for our Lord and Savior.
That’s living life in the Kingdom of God.
Dear Lord, as I truly wish to show my love for you, help me to share that love with those who need it most today. Let me look to the least as if I am serving you. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.