Sunday, April 3, 2022
The Sheep and the Goats
31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him, and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry, and you fed me,
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless, and you gave me a room,
I was shivering, and you gave me clothes,
I was sick, and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison, and you came to me.’
37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
-Matthew 25:31-40 The Message
The Final Judgment
Verse 31: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Verses 31-46 studies: God separates obedient followers from pretenders and unbelievers. The evidence of our belief is how we act. It’s no easy task to treat all people we encounter as Jesus does. But what we do for others will demonstrate what we really think about Jesus’ words to us, such as feeding the hungry, giving to the homeless, and giving a place to stay and looking after the sick. How well do your actions separate you from pretenders and unbelievers?
Verse 32: Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Verse 32 study: Jesus used sheep and goats to show us the division between believers and unbelievers. Sheep and goats grazed together mostly but were separated when it came time to shear the sheep.
17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue[a] my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. -Ezekiel 34:17-24 ESV (English Standard Version)
Verse 33: And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Verse 34: Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Verse 35: For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me,
Verse 36: I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.’
Verse 37: Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
Verse 38: And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
Verse 39: And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
Verse 40: And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Verses 34-40 studies: This parable also shares how acts of mercy we can apply every day. These acts do not depend on wealth, ability, or intelligence. There are acts free in giving and receiving. We have no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs. We can’t hand these responsibilities over to the church or government. Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for others’ needs.
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? -Isaiah 58:7 ESV (English Standard Version)
Verse 40 study: There were many discussions about the identity of the “brothers.” Some say they are Jews; others say they are all Christians; others claim they are suffering people everywhere. This debate on the brothers’ identity makes you think about the lawyer’s question earlier to Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” The point of this parable is not who but what. The importance of serving others where service is needed. The focus is on loving every person and serving anyone we can. Giving that love is glorified by God; reflects our love for him.