27 Mar. Matthew 23:31-46

27 Mar. Jesus tells a parable about God's justice

"'The Son of Man will come again in his great glory [in the 'end times'], with all his angels. He will be King, and sit on his great throne. All the nations of the world will be gathered before him, and he will separate them into two groups as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.'"

"'The Son of Man will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.'"

"'Then the King will say to the people on his right, "Come, my Father has given you his blessing. Receive the kingdom God has prepared for you since the world was made."'"

"'"I was hungry, and you gave me food.
I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.
I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house.
I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear.
I was sick, and you cared for me.
I was in prison. and you visited me.'""

"'Then the good people will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry... thirsty... alone... without clothes... sick or in prison and care for you?"'"

"'Then the King will answer, "I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me."'"

"'Then the King will say to those on his left, "Go away from me...
I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat.
I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink.
I was alone and away from home, and you did not invite me into your house.
I was without clothes, and you gave me nothing to wear.
I was sick and in prison. and you did not care for me."'"

"'Then those people will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry... thirsty... alone... without clothes... sick or in prison... and not help you?"'"

"Then the King will answer, 'I tell you the truth, anything you refused to do for even the least of my people here, you refused to do for me'."

"'These people will go off to be punished for ever, but the good people will go to live for ever.'"

          (Matthew 25:31-46)

 

 

While he was teaching in the Temple courts before the start of the Passover festival, Jesus told a parable (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) about sheep and goats. But the story was really all about God's justice for his people, resulting in eternal life in God's kingdom, or eternity away from God's love and joy.

In the story, Jesus described how the ‘Son of Man’ (a name he often used for himself) would return to earth in glory on the ‘Day of Judgement’. In these 'end times', all people on earth would be gathered together and would be separated into those who had pleased God and those who had offended him, “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32).

This would not be an easy task, as simply from outward appearances, Palestinian long-eared sheep and goats look very similar. Jesus said that the ‘sheep’ he would lead as a "good shepherd" and whom God would bless (see John 10:11-16) were those who had fed and clothed the hungry and the poor, while the ‘goats’ (who were rejected from God’s eternal kingdom) were those who had ignored the needs of others.

God loves us just as we are, but he is just, and wants us to become more like Jesus. So the story tells us that when God creates a new heaven and a new earth in the 'end times' (see Revelation 21:1-8) he will judge each one of us by the 'fruits' we produced during our lives here on earth (see Galatians 5:22-23). If we ignore his words, he, in turn, will ignore us.

The photo (by Mahmoud Burnat) shows a Palestinian shepherd leading his flock of sheep and goats.

You can read more of Jesus's teachings from Passover week @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-parable-of-the-sheep…/


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