Matthew 25:31-46 - The Parable Of The Sheep And Goats The Final Judgment.
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.. I tell
you the truth, whatever you did for one of the
least of these brothers of mine, you did for
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.'. `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.'
We've seen that Scripture often compares
the people of God to sheep. But some of those
same Scripture passages go on to compare people
who aren't following God to goats - and the
comparison isn't flattering. How are goats different
While sheep graze primarily on grass,
goats will eat anything they can find: clothes off
a line, dog food (a favorite), toys, grass,
vegetables, cardboard, and even some toxic plants.
Goats are extremely curious and
intelligent. They're easily trained, but they're also
known for escaping pens. They test fences and will
climb on or push through barriers.
Rather than staying together like sheep,
goats spread out. They seldom feed side by side.
Goats fight, butt, make a lot of noise, have turf
wars, and play favorites with their kids or
It's not hard to recognize human
behaviors in these characteristics. We all know people
who will "eat" anything, who are always looking
for new ideas and new relationships. They have
an off-with-the-old-and-on-to-the-new way of
thinking, but some of those new ideas are poison to
the soul. These "goats" may look full and rich,
but they are really only harming themselves,
heading toward life without God.
Testing barriers? Some people feel
trapped by rules meant to protect them from harm.
They rebel and push away any restraint in order
to experiment with drugs, alcohol, sex, crime,
or whatever appeals at the moment. Sometimes
they suffer the consequences. Often they cause
those around them to suffer as well.
What about fighting with each other
instead of functioning as a community? I could name
a few politicians who fit that description. A
few church leaders as well. That kind of
conflict is rooted in selfishness and a "me first"
attitude that keeps people from remembering that
we're created to be part of a flock.
We've already seen that sheep have more
than their share of defects. But even with all
their struggles - their wandering, their timidity,
their tendency to follow the crowd - they have one
characteristic we need to embrace wholeheartedly: they
listen to their shepherd.
I'd rather be a sheep grazing in the
pastures of the Lord than be a goat nibbling the
chaff Satan feeds his flock. How about you?
Why are we so prone to desiring new
things, testing barriers, and fighting for our own
territory? How can we combat those tendencies?
Identify one way you push the boundaries,
compete with others, or continually look for new
ideas. Ask God to help you respond like a sheep
rather than like a goat. Reflect on the idea of
following the Good Shepherd.
Connect With God
Good Shepherd, help me to remember that
You have my well-being in mind. The boundaries
You set are not to frustrate me but to keep me
safe. Keep me from following my own way. Teach me
instead to follow You like a sheep, always listening
to Your voice and knowing that's how I will
find my way to You. [Earth Psalms by Francine
There are many reasons to help people in
"Benevolence is good for the world."
"We all float on the same ocean. When the
tide rises, it benefits everyone."
"To deliver someone from poverty is to
unleash that person's potential as a researcher,
educator, or doctor."
"As we reduce poverty and disease, we
reduce war and atrocities. Healthy, happy people
don't hurt each other."
Compassion has a dozen advocates.
But for the Christian, none is higher
than this: when we love those in need, we are
loving Jesus. It is a mystery beyond science, a
truth beyond statistics. But it is a message that
Jesus made crystal clear: when we love them, we
This is the theme of his final sermon.
The message he saved until last. He must want
this point imprinted on our conscience. He
depicted the final judgment scene. The last day, the
great Day of Judgment. On that day Jesus will
issue an irresistible command. All will come. From
sunken ships and forgotten cemeteries, they will
come. From royal tombs and grassy battlefields,
they will come. From Abel, the first to die, to
the person being buried at the moment Jesus
calls, every human in history will be present.
All the angels will be present. The whole
heavenly universe will witness the event. A
staggering denouement. Jesus at some point will
"separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides
his sheep from the goats" (Matt. 25:32).
Shepherds do this. They walk among the flock and, one
by one, with the use of a staff direct goats in
one direction and sheep in the other. Graphic,
this thought of the Good Shepherd stepping
through the flock of humanity. You. Me. Our parents
and kids. "Max, go this way." "Ronaldo, over
there." "Maria, this side."
How can one envision this moment without
the sudden appearance of this urgent question:
What determines his choice? How does Jesus
separate the people?
Jesus gives the answer. Those on the
right, the sheep, will be those who fed him when he
was hungry, brought him water when he was
thirsty, gave him lodging when he was lonely,
clothing when he was naked, and comfort when he was
sick or imprisoned. The sign of the saved is
their concern for those in need. Compassion does
not save them"or us. Salvation is the work of
Christ. Compassion is the consequence of salvation.
The sheep will react with a sincere
question: when? When did we feed, visit, clothe, or
comfort you (vv. 34-39)?
Jesus will recount, one by one, all the
acts of kindness. Every deed done to improve the
lot of another person. Even the small ones. In
fact, they all seem small. Giving water. Offering
food. Sharing clothing. The works of mercy are
simple deeds. And yet, in these simple deeds we
serve Jesus. Astounding this truth: we serve
Christ by serving needy people.
Some of them live in your neighborhood;
others live in jungles you can't find and have
names you can't pronounce. Some of them play in
cardboard slums or sell sex on a busy street. Some of
them walk three hours for water or wait all day
for a shot of penicillin. Some of them brought
their woes on themselves, and others inherited the
mess from their parents.
None of us can help everyone. But all of
us can help someone. And when we help them, we
serve Jesus. Who would want to miss a chance to do
O Lord, where did I see you yesterday...
and didn't recognize you? Where will I encounter
you today... and fail to identify you properly?
O my Father, give me eyes to see, a heart to
respond, and hands and feet to serve you wherever you
encounter me! Transform me, Lord, by your Spirit into
a servant of Christ, who delights to meet the
needs of those around me. Make me a billboard of
your grace, a living advertisement for the riches
of your compassion. I long to hear you say to
me one day, "Well done, good and faithful
servant." And I pray that today I would be that
faithful servant who does well at doing good. In
Jesus' name I pray, amen. [Max Lucado Daily
Devotional at maxlucado.com]
Piper Hayward didn't go to Africa
thinking much about clean drinking water. Her family
had helped start an organization to help
orphans, and the Ohio tween traveled to Kenya to do
whatever she could. She even brought a trunk full of
school supplies. But once Piper got to the Maasai
village, she was surprised to find girls about her
age who were responsible for providing water.
They had no time for school, because water was
scarce and took a long time to carry. Piper enjoyed
playing with the orphans, performing skits, and
comforting children during medical exams. But when she
returned home, she couldn't get the "water girls" out
of her mind. She set up a coin drive in her
school. Soon Piper's friends and family members
began collecting coins in Illinois, Texas, and
other states. In less than a year, enough money
had been raised to drill a 600-foot well and
install a pump and generator. Now the village would
enjoy clean water and everybody could have a
chance to go to school.
Clean water. Most of us don't think much
about it. We crank the faucet and out it pours.
But in many parts of the world, clean water
isn't a reality. According to the World Health
Organization (WHO), nearly 3.5 million people die each
year from water-related diseases. A 2010 study by
WHO and UNICEF discovered that 780 million
people around the world don't have access to clean
water. That's about one out of every nine people on
the planet or more than twice the population of
the United States and Canada combined!
When Piper saw a need, she worked to fix
it. Anytime you reach out to help the less
fortunate, you honor God and further his kingdom. In
Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable in which the king
commends his true followers for helping the hungry,
sick, and imprisoned, saying, "Whatever you did
for one of the least of these brothers and
sisters of mine, you did for me." As Christian's, we
know helping others is part of our role on earth.
Can you think of some people who need help? You
may not be providing water. But you can help the
homeless in your area, volunteer in the church
nursery, or use your allowance to sponsor a child in
another country. Now don't just think about what you
can do - go out and do it. [Case For Christ For
Kids by Les Strobel]
Jesus set aside the privileges of
deity and took on the status of a slave, became
human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was
an incredibly humbling process. He didnt
claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a
selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless,
obedient death"and the worst kind of death at that:
a crucifixion (Phil. 2:7"8 MSG).
Lets follow his example. Lets
put on the apron of humility, to serve one
another (1 Pet. 5:5 TEV). Jesus entered the world to
serve. We can enter our jobs, our homes, our
churches. Servanthood requires no unique skill or
seminary degree. Regardless of your strengths,
training, or church tenure, you can
Love the overlooked. Jesus sits in your
classroom, wearing the thick glasses, outdated
clothing, and a sad face. Youve seen him. Hes
Jesus works in your office. Pregnant
again, she shows up to work late and tired. No one
knows the father. According to water-cooler
rumors, even she doesnt know the father. Youve
seen her. Shes Jesus.
When you talk to the lonely student,
befriend the weary mom, you love Jesus. He dresses in
the garb of the overlooked and ignored.
Whenever you did one of these things to someone
overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to
me (Matt. 25:40 MSG).
You can do that. Even if your sweet spot
has nothing to do with encouraging others, the
cure for the common life involves loving the
overlooked. You can also
Wave a white flag. We fight so much.
Where do you think all these appalling wars and
quarrels come from? asks the brother of Jesus.
Do you think they just happen? Think again.
They come about because you want your own way,
and fight for it deep inside yourselves
(James 4:1 MSG). Serve someone by swallowing your
pride. One more aspect of servanthood..
Every day do something you dont want
to do. Pick up someone elses trash.
Surrender your parking place. Call the long-winded
relative. Carry the cooler. Doesnt have to be a big
thing. Helen Keller once told the Tennessee
legislature that when she was young, she had longed to
do great things and could not, so she decided
to do small things in a great way. Dont be
too big to do something small. Throw
yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that
nothing you do for him is a waste of time or
effort (1 Cor. 15:58 MSG).
A good action not only brings good
fortune, it brings Gods attention. He notices the
actions of servants. He sent his Son to be one.
When you and I crest Mount Zion and hear
the applause of saints, well realize this:
hands pushed us up the mountain too. The pierced
hands of Jesus Christ, the greatest servant who
ever lived. [Max Lucado Daily Devotional at
Who really cared? His was a routine
admission to busy Bellevue Hospital. A charity case,
one among hundreds. A drunken bum from the
Bowery with a slashed throat. The Bowery last
stop before the morgue.
The derelict's name was misspelled on the
hospital form, but then what good is a name when the
guy's a bum? The age was also incorrect. He was
thirty-eight, not thirty-nine, and looked twice that.
Somebody might have remarked, "What a shame for one
so young," but no one did. Because no one
His health was gone and he was starving.
He had been found lying in a heap, bleeding
from a deep gash in his throat. A doctor used
black sewing thread to suture the wound. Then the
man was dumped in a paddy wagon and dropped off
at Bellevue Hospital, where he languished and
died. But nobody really cared.
A friend seeking him was directed to the
local morgue. There, among dozens of other
nameless corpses, he was identified. When they
scraped together his belongings, they found a
ragged, dirty coat with thirty-eight cents in one
pocket and a scrap of paper in the other. All his
earthly goods. Enough coins for another night in the
Bowery and five words, "Dear friends and gentle
hearts." Almost like the words of a song, someone may
Which would have been correct, for once
upon a time that man had written the songs that
literally made the whole world sing. Songs like
"Camptown Races," "Oh! Susanna," "Beautiful Dreamer,"
"I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,"
"Old Folks at Home," "My Old Kentucky Home," and
two hundred more that have become deeply rooted
in our rich American heritage.
Thanks to Stephen Collins Foster.
Today, some of these forgotten souls are
in prison. Some in hospitals. Some in nursing
homes. And some silently slip into church on Sunday
morning, confused and afraid.
Do you care? Enough "to show hospitality
to strangers," as Hebrews 13:2 puts it? It also
says that in doing so, we occasionally "entertain
angels without knowing it."
Angels who don't look anything like
angels. Some might even look like bums from the
Bowery, but they may have a song dying in their
hearts because nobody knows and nobody cares.
Deep within many a forgotten life is a
scrap of hope, a lonely melody trying hard to
return. [Chuck Swindoll www.insight.org.]
LINK FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE
If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in
hearing from you. Thanks in advance and let's keep
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred
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