Matthew 25:31-46 - The Parable Of The Sheep And Goats - The Final Judgment.
Matthew 25:31-46: The Parable Of The Sheep And Goats - The Final
TEXT & PARAPHRASE
Matthew 25:34-36, 40 (NIV) "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.'.... "The King will
reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of
these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Mat 25:34-36, 40 (CWB) Then as Judge and King He will say to
those on His right, `You are my Father's children because you are so
much like Him. Come! Now is the time for you to be given a
permanent home in His kingdom which He has been looking forward to giving
you for quite sometime. Everyone could see the change that took
place in your life when you decided to become one of God's children,
because you cared about others as you would care about me. When others
were thirsty, you gave them water. When they were hungry, you gave
them food, and when they were lost and homeless, you took them in.
When they had nothing suitable to wear, you gave them clothes. When
they were sick, you visited them and comforted them, and when they
were put in jail, you didn't forget them.'.... And the Son of God will
say, `I know you didn't realize this because a transformation had
taken place in your life and kindness and compassion became a
permanent part of your nature. What you so caringly did even to those who
are thought the least of, you did for me.'
OVERVIEW & THEME
Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the
scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as
turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there
will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined
by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the
person of the poor and the suffering. DA637-641
The great final test is concerned with the extent to which the
principles of true religion (see James 1:27) have been applied to daily
living, particularly in relationship to the interests and needs of
others. [SDA Commentary]
Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and
thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who
was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread
table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were
at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head.
While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute.
While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison. DA637-641
Since we are all His creation, He loves everyone. We will be
judged, therefore, by what we have done to help one another, especially
those who, being weak, have great need. This passage stands as a great
challenge to us and supplements rather than contradicts the doctrine of
justification by faith. Those who have been saved by grace and transformed by
the Spirit of God will respond affirmatively to such a challenge. It
is the proof of our salvation, not the means of securing it.
The best evidence of love for God is love that leads us to bear
"one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ". The
principle involved in the statement of ch. 25:40 is well illustrated in
the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The best evidence
that a person has become a son of God is that he does the works of
God. [SDA Commentary]
Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes
of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the
lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on
which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to
Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall
find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in
the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there
are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when
on earth, we shall walk in His steps. DA637-641
Involvement with others is a daily challenge. Realize that
meeting the needs of others is serving Christ. This parable describes
acts of mercy we all can do every day. These acts do not depend on
wealth, ability, or intelligence; they are simple acts freely given and
freely received. We have no excuse to neglect those who have deep
needs, and we cannot hand over this responsibility to the church or
government. Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for others'
needs (Isaiah 58:7). It is one of those ways in which we can imitate
Christ in our daily lives. No special "talent" is needed. Jesus demands
our personal involvement in caring for others' needs (Isa 58:7).
That this list is repeated four times in this parable indicates its
importance as a guide for practical discipleship. The list is not
exhaustive; instead, it represents all types of good deeds. This parable is
not teaching salvation by good deeds, but evidence of salvation
through good deeds. [Life Application Commentary]
The Bible is full of exhortation regarding the believer's
responsibility towards the poor, but not much is heard about that today.
Instead, our focus is on self. Much consideration is given to
self-realization, self-actualization, self-improvement. Our
calendars are full of
classes and conferences to help the self. As we proceed toward the
Lord's return, we can expect the world's ways and the Lord's ways to
become greater in contrast. The Word doesn't say, "blessed is he who
considers himself," but "blessed" or "approved of God" is he that
considers the poor! Check your calendar: are you scheduled to prepare and
serve meals to the hungry? Are you signed up to help the homeless find
shelter? Are you busy making sure children in your city don't go off to
school cold and hungry? Consider the poor! [In His Time; Walk With
Not in our lifetime have we seen anyone who has lived such a
life of complete commitment as Mother Teresa. If anyone who ever
lived in recent times deserved the title "Saint" it is Mother Teresa.
She picked India to do her work of service for no place on earth has
so many poor, destitute, sick and needy as Calcutta. Here, in her
own words, is how she looked at life. "As the Father has loved me,
we will love one another. If I stop to think about what is
happening in the world, that is time taken away from my work. A sacrifice
to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of
silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is
love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is
peace." Let us, henceforth, pray that each one of us will choose to live
lives of service to God and to humanity. [Yokefellows Prison
In the 1940's, more than 500,000 people in the city of Calcutta
(5% of the city's population) literally lived and died in the
streets. With summer temperatures normally above 115 degrees and winter
temperatures hovering in the high 90's, the city could seem like hell on
earth. It was there that the "poorest of the poor" lived, plagued by
leprosy, tuberculosis, pneumonia and, most of all, poverty.
What hope was there in such a place? Surely no one could make a
difference there. But Agnes thought differently. She believed that God
was calling her to bring hope to these poor and downtrodden people.
In her journal, Agnes, now known as Mother Teresa, described her
first day in the slums as a day of meeting Christ. She met Christ
face to face there - the hungry Christ, the naked Christ, the sick
Christ, and the homeless Christ. She said the touch of him in this
distressing disguise gave her great joy, peace, and strength.
So, clad in a white sari edged with blue, Mother Teresa began
her work. She and a group of nuns taught the children of the poor.
They provided care for lepers who could get help nowhere else. They
built shelters and hospitals so the poor would have a place out of the
streets. They fed the hungry and loved the unlovable. They literally
changed the face of Calcutta.
Jesus' love flowed through Mother Teresa to touch people.
Jesus' love always makes a difference. When Jesus touches sick people,
their lives are never the same. [Youth SB]
Once there was a man whose life was one of misery. The days were
cloudy, and the nights were long. He didn't want to be unhappy, but he
was. With the passing of the years, his life had changed. His
children were grown. The neighborhood was different. The city seemed
He was unhappy. He decided to ask his pastor what was wrong. "Am
I unhappy for some sin I have committed?"
"Yes," the wise pastor replied. "You have sinned."
"And what might that sin be?"
"Ignorance," came the reply. "The sin of ignorance. One of your
neighbors is the Messiah in disguise, and you have not seen him." The
man left the office stunned. "The Messiah is one of my neighbors?"
He began to think who it might be. Tom the butcher? No, he's too
lazy. Mary, my cousin down the street? No, too much pride. Aaron the
paperboy? No, too indulgent.
The man was confounded. Every person he knew had defects. But
one was the Messiah.
He began to look for Him.
He began to notice things he hadn't seen. The grocer often
carried sacks to the cars of older ladies. Maybe he is the Messiah.
The officer at the corner always had a smile for the kids. Could
it be? And the young couple who'd moved in next door. How kind they
are to their cat. Maybe one of them...
With time he saw things in people he'd never seen. And with time
his outlook began to change. The bounce returned to his step. His
eyes took on a friendly sparkle. When others spoke he listened. After
all, he might be listening to the Messiah. When anyone asked for
help, he responded; after all this might be the Messiah needing
The change of attitude was so significant that someone asked him
why he was so happy. "I don't know," he answered. "All I know is
that things changed when I started looking for God."
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes
in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his
entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kinda esoteric and
very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very
conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but
are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there.
He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The
service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking
for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By
now people are looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says
anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and when
he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the
carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college
fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!)
By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air
About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back
of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now
the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, a three-piece
suit, and a pocket watch. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified,
very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward
this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, You can't blame him for
what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of
his background to understand some college kid on the floor?
It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church
is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All
eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The
people are thinking, the minister can't even preach the sermon until
the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly
man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers
himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be
alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion.
When the minister gains control he says, "What I'm about to
preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will
never forget." Author unknown
A true story. Let us practice what we teach, preach and
It was a cold winter's day that Sabbath. The parking lot to the
church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that
fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked
to the church. As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the
wall outside the church. He was almost laying down as if he was
asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat
topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore
shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all
over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and
asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church.
We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up
the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one
bothered to ask him to come in, including me. A few moments later church
We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us
the Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless
man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and
whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the
pulpit he took off his hat and coat.
My heart sank. There stood our preacher; he was the "homeless
man." No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and laid it on
"Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching
about today." Then he started singing the words to this song. "If I
can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a
word or song. If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong. Then
my living shall not be in vain." [source unknown]
God will separate his obedient followers from pretenders and
unbelievers. The real evidence of our belief is the way we act. To treat all
persons we encounter as if they are Jesus is no easy task. What we do
for others demonstrates what we really think about Jesus' words to
us--feed the hungry, give the homeless a place to stay, look after the
sick. How well do your actions separate you from pretenders and
unbelievers? [Life Application SB]
When we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His
mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in
our hearts. DA637-641