Jesus has promised that he will one day return, and he has given us some instruction as to what we should be doing as we await him. The Parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25: 31-46 is one passage where Jesus gives such instruction. When Jesus returns, he will gather all the nations and separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, putting the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He then will say to those on the 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.” So much blessing for the sheep, and a lesson for us today. By doing these things for others we are doing them for Christ.
But the lesson continues for the goats. 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 and 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 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?”
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 to eternal life.”
So the lesson is clear. When we do things to help others, it is the same as if we do them to help Jesus. When we see others in need and ignore their need, it is the same as if we are ignoring Jesus. The consequences of our actions will mean the difference between eternal punishment and eternal life. We need to follow the example of the sheep. Though we are saved through grace, (Ephesians 2:8), we are also his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10).
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