(Say the Jesus Creed morning and evening during Lent.)
Matthew 25:31 ?When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 ?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. 35 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, 36 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.?.
1. We have here clearly a parable about the Eschaton, whenever one thinks it might begin.
2. That kingdom is the time when Jesus begins to reign.
3. That kingdom involves a final judgment of all.
4. That kingdom judgment separates sheep from goats.
5. The sheep will enter the kingdom.
6. They enter because they have identified with and shown compassion to “the least of these my brothers”. Thus,
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
I do not think it is likely these “brothers” are simply Jewish contemporaries of Jesus; I believe it refers to the missioners of Jesus, and a good solid parallel is Matthew 10:40-42:
40 ?He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.?