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When was that?

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Jesus separates the sheep and goats, and each group asks when they either did or did not do what Jesus wanted

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Matthew 25:31–46 NIV84
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

When all is said and done, we will face judgment

The Message of Matthew The Sheep and the Goats (25:31–46)

It tells me that there will be great surprises on that day. Lots of people who were very confident of their condition will be undone. Lots of people who rated themselves very lowly will be astonished by their reception.

It tells me that the heart of Christianity is relationship with Jesus himself, which shows itself in loving, sacrificial care for others, in particular the poor and needy.

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Matthew The Division of the Sheep and the Goats (25:31–46)

The stakes involved in our witness are eternal. The horrifying conclusion (25:46) is the damnation of people who did not actively embrace messengers of the gospel but nevertheless were oblivious to how they had offended God.

The sheep and the goats asked the same question

They had different actions… but same question… WHEN did we see you this way?
PICTURE of all of humanity standing before God...
The New American Commentary: Matthew 2. Judgment on the Temple but Also on the Nations (23:1–25:46)

The sheep are blessed because of their good behavior. They cared for Christ, feeding him when he was hungry, giving him drink when thirsty, providing adequate clothing when he was ill-clad (gymnos, “needed clothes,” frequently translated “naked” but often meaning only with an undergarment), showing him hospitality when he was a foreigner (xenos; “stranger,” v. 35), and visiting him when he was sick or imprisoned. Here are three basic human needs, apart from salvation—food, shelter, and companionship.

They were SURPRISED… not in the sense of faith, but in the sense that they did not understand how they had ministered directly to Jesus
SHEEP have works that demonstrate they have responded properly to Jesus andHIs messengers
The GOATS were SURPRISED… they had sins of omission… and did not have the response God wanted them to have

Lord, when did we ever see you hungry? When the righteous (10:41; 13:43, 49) professed surprise and ignorance of their sixfold, merciful ministry, Jesus announced that it was done for him when it was done for one of his little brothers. The amazement of those on the King’s right hand is evidently due to their lack of recollection of ministering to Jesus when he was in need, but ministry to his people is regarded as ministry to him (10:40). This is the central principle of judgment in this passage (cf. Prov 19:17).

He goes on to speak of some of the things they have done in their lives on this earth. Four times this list is repeated in this and the following verses (it “is clearly meant to be remembered as a guide to practical discipleship,” France). We should not understand this in the sense that these good works have earned them their salvation; grace is as important throughout this Gospel as anywhere in the New Testament. Jesus is not saying that these are people whose good lives have earned them salvation as their right. He is saying that God has blessed them and brought them into his kingdom, and he proceeds to cite evidence that shows that they do in fact belong in that kingdom.67 Their lives are evidence that God has been at work in them. “I was hungry,” he says, “and you gave me food,” a kindly action for which the world has always provided scope. So with being thirsty and the need for something to drink. The stranger is always in a somewhat difficult position, and in first-century Palestine, with its lack of facilities like the hotels that in modern times we so easily take for granted, this was especially the case. Where would a stranger lodge when he came to an unfamiliar place?

The sheep were HOSPITABLE when they saw a need
Hungry… something to eat
Thirsty… something to drink

The astonished questions of the righteous are the best evidence as to how far their thoughts are from any idea of merit on their part. They have, indeed, learned from the gospel to serve Christ, their King, in even the lowliest of his brethren. But when they now note infinite glory as their inheritance in the heavenly Kingdom, the award of this inheritance on the ground of such little works seems impossible to them. They kept no record of their works, they trusted solely in grace and forgot all their works. This is the truth that Christ brings out by means of these questions. It is further evidence to show how just and righteous the award he makes is.

The sheep and goats many times ran together… and to many people, they could even look similar

Common view today is the brothers needing care are those who are needy in the world

Matthew: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition 3. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats 25:31–46

In recent years, a more careful reading of the text has renewed the historic Christian interpretation that the compassion Jesus desired is compassion to believers in need.

The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Who Are the Sheep, Goats, and Siblings?

But in the context of Jesus’ teachings, especially in the context of Matthew (as opposed to Luke), this parable probably addresses not serving the poor on the whole but receiving the gospel’s messengers.

This vigilance is shown by faithful stewardship (25:14–30). This stewardship is exercised in helping those in need, especially one’s brothers and sisters in Christ (25:31–46).

The New American Commentary: Matthew 2. Judgment on the Temple but Also on the Nations (23:1–25:46)

Hence, there remains no more pressing priority in this life than to respond properly to Jesus and his messengers by becoming disciples through faith in him.

The Message of Matthew The Sheep and the Goats (25:31–46)

Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier and a Christian. One freezing day a beggar asked him for alms. Martin had no money, but, seeing the man blue with cold, he ripped his soldier’s cloak in half and gave one part to the beggar. That night he had a dream. He saw Jesus in the courts of heaven, wearing half his cloak. He heard an angel ask, ‘Master, why are you wearing that battered old cloak? Who gave it to you?’ And Jesus replied, ‘My servant Martin gave it to me.’

Who have you welcomed?

The Message of Matthew The Sheep and the Goats (25:31–46)

It tells me that I am accountable. I am free to live my life just as I please, but at the end I shall have to give account to the one who gave me my life.

Has your heart changed to love without even thinking about it?

NEITHER GROUP (sheep or goats) could recall a time when they HAD ministered to Jesus or HAD NOT ministered to Jesus (let that soak in…)
Faithful investment of your life will earn HIS blessing...
The Lord has high standards for obedience and faithful stewardship
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