Last week Jesus taught us the responsibility of using the talents that God gave us in verses 14-30 of Matthew 25. Tonight we will finish Matthew chapter 25 by reading verses 31-46.
In this passage, Jesus builds on the ideas of coming judgment that He has been talking about throughout this chapter. While the first mentions were via parable, this final explanation that Jesus provides is more plainly spoken.
Jesus talks about how He will come to judge the nations and how they will be divided according to their righteousness and wickedness. The righteous are represented as sheep, an animal that is gentle and yielding, while the wicked are represented as goats, an animal that is difficult and wild. The Lord says to the sheep that they can come in to inherit their kingdom because they cared for Him. When the sheep ask when they cared for the Lord, Christ says to them that whenever they cared for a soul in need, they cared for Him.
In contrast to the sheep, who were invited in, the goats are cast away from Christ, into everlasting fire and the company of Satan. The reasoning for their punishment is in parallel to the reasoning for the sheep’s reward: they never considered or stopped to help a soul in need. While the sheep go into eternal life, the goats go into everlasting punishment.
The message of Christ’s words here is simple and very general: be kind to those in need. Consider the lowly, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned. I am expected to use the resources I have to provide mercy to those in need. There are countless ways that this can be done. We can donate, volunteer, visit, give or listen. What God wants from us is to provide the same mercy and kindness that He provides to us: if God loved us enough to send His Son Jesus Christ to die a sinless death for our sins, might we also love God enough to show kindness and mercy to our fellow neighbor?
The main theme of the message is compassion and selflessness. If we can take time out of our day to consider and care for those less fortunate than us, God will show us favor. Is there anyone in my life at this moment that could use some kind attention and love?