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Compassion Sunday

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Matthew 25:31–46 ESV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 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. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 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. 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, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 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.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, 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?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matthew 25
this portion of scripture, like many, can grab a hold of us and shake us. Sometimes scripture can cause us to feel a little uncomfortable..... but that is OK when we are talking about our Heavenly Father, and His word. He is good!
Scripture can also be taken out of context when we pull a verse out and interpret it without allowing other scripture to speak to it.
like these verses we just read. some have looked at them as a reason for social action, because it doesn’t bring out directly the theology but it points to caring for the poor and needy.
Others get worried that it looks like a works based justification. How dangerous would that be to a person who thought they were doing enough to be justified by their good work...... would Christ even need to matter to that person?
Well, thankfully, we have a complete bible to read from and to allow scripture to interpret scripture.
So, what are these verses really pointing out?
we need to ask some questions that other verses may answer for us.
How does social action fit into our faith?
what about justification?
And what about this judgement we see in this portion, does it effect us?
first off, it speaks of accountability. Accountability to the Son of Man, Jesus....the King.
verse 32 says all nations will be gathered and He will separate.....so there will be a distinction between people. here we see it termed sheep and goats.
sheep were generally used in the O.T. as the people of God.
then we see a blessing from the King.....
He blessed them and let them know what He witnessed them doing. Scripture is clear that when we truly believe it, we do it.
we read in James how if a person
in the book of James, we find a rhetorical question in chapt 2:15,16 about a person who says they have faith but does not help someone in need. It is not faith to just say they have faith. faith produces action.
the King is blessing His people because these are His people. It goes without saying that they recieved from the King. they believed the King.
So the issue of being justified is found in this also. As Paul deals with being justified apart from works...... works certainly follow one who has faith, believes and is justified already.
there is an inward working before the outward.
But in this verse we see the King referencing the outward works. we must keep in mind the inward transformation that had taken place for these works to be done.
And one major idea that the King shares with both groups.... and this can be a complete perspective overhaul for you and I.
Jesus says this statement. what you did for the least of these, you did unto Me.
This clears it up. remember, they were confused at Him. He was telling them that they were feeding Him, giving Him a drink. clothing Him, visiting Him when He was sick, and going to Him when in prison.
they didn’t understand because they didn’t see Jesus personally in those situations........
but lets get this..
What if Jesus was that person? You know, the one you see that needs help. What if He was? would you treat them in a different way than you have?
Let’s ask ourselves a question..... what does the spirit of God what us to do? This is a question that can revolutionize our world!
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