Matthew 25:31-46New King James Version
The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the [a]holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer [b]Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, we save for you our highest thanks and praise that through your Son, our Savior, Jesus the Christ, you have revealed your glorious will for our lives, and have redeemed us from sin and death. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to your Word and the grace contained therein, that we might come to gain a deeper appreciation for all that our Lord has done for us, and come to embrace him as our redeemer. This we ask in his holy name. Amen.
Today, we celebrate another Sunday of our church year, a Sunday, just as every other Sunday which preceded this one – we will honor Jesus the Christ as King.
It is a day to remember that through the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls us to acknowledge Jesus, and Jesus alone, who alone is the only One worthy to be our Lord, an our Savior – who will one day come, judge the world in righteousness.
Our Gospel lesson for this morning is one of two of Christ’s teachings on the subject of his future judging of the world, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.
The first occurs at the end of what has become known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” where Jesus says:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’”
In this passage, the judgement of condemnation seems to fall upon those who use Jesus’ name in a casual manner, as if they really did not know and did not understand Jesus from the very deepest depths of their hearts and their souls.
Simply engaging in acts of ministry is not what Jesus wants. He wants us to know him in such an intimate way, that all of our actions, and all of the ways that we live our lives, naturally flow from our koinonia relationship with him.
Our Gospel lesson for today, the emphasis of our Lord’s judgement again seems to fall upon truly knowing Jesus from the heart, in such an intimate way, as we encounter persons in need, we respond to them as Jesus would have responded.
Just listen to how personal and intimate, Jesus makes his judgement.
“For 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, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…” And 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.”
The interesting thing about our lesson for today is the fact those who did what Jesus would have expected, did so without trying to earn our Lord’s good favor.
Because they knew Jesus so intimately, so personally, they didn’t even realize that they were acting the way that Jesus desired.
From knowing Savior Jesus, their life had been so dramatically and thoroughly changed, in such a way they just naturally responded to care for those in need.
It was not as if they knowingly set out and acted in such a way to earn brownie points from our Lord come judgement day.
The fact that those whom our Lord blessed and invited into the kingdom of God, did not even know that they had done these things, is a clear statement that it is not our deeds that make us righteous, but our intimate relationship with Jesus.
As the story goes, in a large Christian University, two persons were called upon to recite the 23rd Psalm of David, in a study group focusing on how hearing the Word of God proclaimed, can effect us in diverse, various ways, even change the meaning of a certain text.
One chosen to recite the psalm was a PhD professor trained in the techniques of Biblical Story Telling, speech, drama and music.
As a result, he intoned the psalm with great beauty and power.
When he had finished, those in the class applauded with enthusiasm, and asked him to repeat those verses, they again might hear his beautiful performance.
Then the second person was asked to recite the text.
She was a young first year student, who had yet to pick a major.
With no musical talent or inclination, she chose to recite the whole psalm from her own memory as she was taught to by her mom and dad, her grandparents.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…
When this young first year non-matriculated student finished reciting that psalm, not one single sound came from anyone the class, even the teacher.
Instead, the students sat quietly, in a deep mood of prayer and devotion.
Finally, the professor stood and addressed the class.
“I have a confession to make,” he said.
“The difference between what you have just heard from my student, from what you have also just heard from me, is that with all of my years of education and of my training. I may know the psalm, but she knows the psalm and loves the shepherd.”
Now I share this illustration with you today, not to simply point to the merits and differences between someone reciting the psalm versus intoning the psalm.
I personally enjoy intoning the psalms, because I deeply believe that is exactly how they were intended to be spoken and heard and felt in a worship setting.
They were ancient hymns and meant to come from the very depths of our souls.
But what is important to me, is that we intone or recite or sing the psalms with maximum conviction, as if we realize that they are written by persons who did know the Shepherd, who understood the context of the shepherd, to convey full of their relationship with God, so that we might come to know God, as did they.
And I believe that this is where these lessons of Jesus about the final judgment ask us to focus our maximum attention on not just Sundays, but every last day.
To honor God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as sovereign.
It is not so important to know a lot of facts about Jesus, as it is to know Jesus.
Of course, the fact that I have just said this, may give maximum impetus to my readership to question why I have them learn so many facets about the Bible and Jesus. But through learning those facets, it is my hope and prayer that they might come to know God, and begin to relate to Jesus as their redeemer King!
It is for that reason, I have stressed to my readership that doing their daily devotions is more important than scoring aces on their “worldly” quizzes.
Even if my readership misses a few major points here or minor there, I can always tell, through their participation in ‘class’ if they understand truth.
And I can an do try to teach a lot of truths in the long course of my writings.
But TRUTH is – I can NEVER teach them to enter into a relationship with Christ.
That is something I have to prayerfully hand over to the grace of God, and the matchless power of the Word of God, Jesus, and His Spirit, to bring to fruition.
I think Luther put it as well as it can be stated, when he said:
“I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him as my Savior. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and kept me in true faith.“
What a marvelous insight, for here Luther is insisting that even our belief in Christ is not something that we can take credit in.
For if it would not have been for the love of God working through the church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would not even have the opportunity to have heard of Jesus the Christ, let alone come into relationship with him.
But all the highest praise and thanks be to God that he has given us the gift of his Holy Spirit, which has inspired his Beloved Children and church to proclaim his Word, and celebrate the Sacraments, that we might all come to know Jesus, and allow him to become, not only a part of our lives, but through our intimate relationship with him, experience the only direction by which we live our lives.
I remember this story from years past, from my own non-matriculated days.
During the French revolution, a mother of two children wondered through the woods for three days, trying to survive on roots and leaves.
On the third day, she heard some soldiers approaching and quickly hid herself and the children behind some bushes. Several of the young soldiers prodded the bushes with their bayonets, to see what a slight rustling noise might look like.
When they saw the starving woman and her two children, they immediately gave them loaves of brown bread from their own meager soldierly rations.
The mother took them eagerly, broke one into two pieces and gave one piece to each of her children. “Is she not hungry,” said the soldier’s comrade. “No,” he said, “It is because she is a mother and loves her children more than her self.”
Matthew 26:26-30 NKJV
Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, [a]blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the [b]new covenant, which is shed for many for the [c]remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Well, on the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it and shared it with us all. Then he lovingly gave up his all he had on the cross, wearing a crown of thorns, and was mocked as being the King of the Jews. Well, today, today celebrate that he is the King, not only of the Jews, but of the world.
As we solemnly approach this coming Thanksgiving – this time of family and togetherness, this coming season of Advent as we remember and recount the ancient story and prophetic passages from God’s Holy Scriptures, to again be aware of how they have impacted those who came before us, how they impacted our lives, how they will continue to impact them and those of our own children, and every single countless future generations of all the children yet to be born,
Then we enter into the wondrous season of Christmas, the season of gift giving, that absolutely positively the greatest gift in all history was the gift of our God,
In a matchless expression of His matchless Charity and Grace – His own Son!
Immanuel – God with Us and God within Us – Alpha to Omega – for all time!
Jesus Christ – Our King!
Jesus Christ, Our Lord!
Jesus Christ – Our Savior!
Ponder that for a while – a long while, an Alpha to Omega while.
Experience what God will most certainly do for you …..
Until then, ……
We might want to get a little more Alpha to Omega practical experience in ……
Psalm 23 AKJV
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear:
though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:3-4)
This I shall yet in everlasting praise, Pray to the Shepherd King of my life ….
To our God and soon coming Savior, I give You thanks. God, I pray today that You will reveal yourself to me and those in my life. May we have an encounter from the true and living God. I pray that the desires of our hearts shall be to seek after You that we may know You and that we will be men and women after God’s own heart, Amen.