Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV)
What an inspiring verse to study with going into the first Sunday of Advent, the season of hope. Sometimes when I think about the day Jesus returns, fear overcomes all other feelings. At first, these verses can have the same impact, instilling the idea that some will see eternal punishment. However, I encourage you to look at these verses with only hope and a challenge.
Jesus states “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Personally, if I knew Jesus was hungry, I would provide him a feast; thirsty and I would provide him unending drink; a stranger, I would introduce him to all my friends; naked and I would take him shopping and let him buy anything he wanted; or sick, I would visit and provide all the medicines I could find. The challenge we have in front of us is to do the same thing for the least of these.
What a challenge! What an honor! Jesus asks us to do these acts of love, and will reward us with an eternal kingdom. Now comes the hard part. If we find ourselves too consumed with our own desires, we are unable to show these acts of love, at least to the least of these. For me, the least of these is commonly the people in my life I struggle to get along with, or my “enemies.” I encourage you to strive to show some act of love to an enemy during this season. Let these verses challenge you, but also let them bring you so much hope.
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV)
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. 37Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? 40And the king will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. 44Then they also will answer, Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? 45Then he will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.