Matthew 25: 31-33
“31 ‘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. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.”
This introduction to a saying of Jesus regarding the kingdom of God opens with a powerful and yet interesting imagery of sheep and goats as an analogy of people received into God’s kingdom and those who are not. In this analogy, the goats are the people on the left sent into eternal damnation and separation from God. While the continuation of this saying in Matthew makes it very clear why this separation occurs, what is not clear is why sheep and goats make a good analogy. I was surprised to learn a few years back as to why separating goats from sheep in this time would have been important, as they actually looked very similar. And most people would have kept both. As the picture accompanying this devotion shows, would you know which is the sheep and which is the goat by just looking? At first glance, I could not. And thus, Jesus’ analogy of how the Son of Man is able to correctly separate the sheep from the goats becomes about action is so powerful. The Son of Man judges not on outward appearances of faithful living but how they treat the least of theses.
Compassionate Lord, we honor you in caring for others and pray that when your kingdom does indeed come we may be among the sheep. Continue to be our good shepherd and guide us in ways that allow us to serve you as well, Amen.