Eyewitness: pp. 215,216
Eyewitness Stories Matt 25:45,46
New Living Translation (NLT): Matt 25:37-39
New international Version (NIV) Matt 25:34
In Your Bible: Matt 25:31-46
Of the many parables Jesus told, this one about the sheep and the goats is considered the most vivid.* It speaks of end times happenings and rewards for those righteous who submitted to and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. It’s a guide on how to lead a Christ-like life. Simply stated, it is God’s way to meet man’s needs.
Son of Man Returns
The parable starts with when the Son of Man’s return to earth – truly a key event. He will separate people from one another – good (believers) from bad (non-believers). The shepherd separates sheep from the goats.
The parable divulges why they were separated. Speaking to the sheep:
- I was hungry – You fed me
- I was thirsty – You gave me a drink
- I was homeless – You took me in
- I had no clothes – You gave me clothes
- I was sick or in prison -You cared for or visited me
“The righteous ones [sheep] will reply, ‘Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing. When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’” (Matthew 25:37b-39 NLT).
Listen to your Heart – Help
The answer to the question means a lot, especially when you see the simplicity of it . . .[the Lord says,} “I assure you, when whenever you helped one of my needy people, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40 Eyewitness Stories).
How do we do this? We help those in need. God wants believers to serve out of love not self-expectation. The Lord was direct when he spoke about this. We need to listen to our heart and respond as Jesus would!
Inheritance from the Time of Creation
The parable explains the believer’s reward for doing these simple things for the right reason** . . . Come [sheep], you who are blessed of my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world (Matthew 25:34b NIV).
That’s an amazing revelation about what was prepared ahead for those who believe and follow Jesus’ commands and teaching! It shows God’s way to meet man’s needs.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your far reaching plan. Help me see the needs of those I can touch for you.
Questions: How do you think God shows you ways you can help others needs? Does it happen immediately as you see it or does it become clear later?
* The Daily Bible Series, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, p. 327.
** Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp1336-1338.