We're coming to the end of our eschatology section in Matthew 25. And once again, It's the part where Fear, has become the lexicon of spiritual advisors in our western culture. You see, I've heard so many sermons talk about the separation of the sheep and the goats as it relates to those who are "in the club" and those who are "out." But is this really what Jesus refers to in Matthew?
It's written, "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 righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and
feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"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." (Matthew 25:34-40)
Can you see it?
Do you see the way this can be interpreted to those who are "in" versus those who are "out?"
We may read this and identify ourselves with the ones who are "in" but take a closer look. Who are the one's the king invites to the Kingdom?
You see, when Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) He was saying to the 1st century Jew, 'you have ways, but you must come and follow my way.' And this is why the first century Jew referred to Jesus' movement as "THE WAY."
When He tells the disciples, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19) He wasn't necessarily asking the disciples to recruit men, but rather; if you come and follow me, people will come to this way, just like the fish just came to the boat in Peter's first encounter with Jesus. (Luke 5:4-11)
And…then idea where the two greatest commandments are "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, 'To Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37-40)
If we begin to add all these commands in a logical conclusion, isn't it interesting when Jesus says, "If you've done this to the least of these my brothers, you've also done it to me" AND, there's a welcoming to the kingdom for the care for others?
What a timely Christmas message, If you reach out to take care of others, you can enter in the kingdom of heaven. The king will welcome you for your thoughtfulness for other people. Much like the King of the Universe came to give us an example through the birth of a son, we can embody that kind of self sacrifice for others, and thus be a part of the inheritance, the kingdom that was built before the creation of the world.
May we be a people who Love God with all that is within us.
May we see the beauty of the Christmas season as we give ourselves to others.
May the world see that we are a group of people who care for their whole being.
May you, NOT FEAR the world today, and go out with strength and confidence to give.
God bless you.