Robert Griffith | 4 July 2023
Robert Griffith
4 July 2023

 

Matthew 25:40 (The Message) “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.”

Here are some good reasons to help people in need:

“Benevolence is good for the world.”

“We all float on the same ocean. When the tide rises, it benefits everyone.”

“To deliver someone from poverty is to unleash that person’s potential as a researcher, educator, or doctor.”

“As we reduce poverty and disease, we reduce war and atrocities. Healthy, happy people don’t hurt each other.”

Compassion has many advocates. None, however, is more important to a Christian than this: by helping people in need, we are also serving Jesus. It is a truth beyond numbers and a mystery beyond science. But Jesus made it very plain that when we love them, we also love Him.

His final sermon will focus on this. He held onto that message for last. He must want us to remember this point forever. He portrayed the scene of the last judgement. The big Day of Judgement, which is the last day. Jesus will give an unstoppable order on that day. It will all come. They will arrive from submerged ships and abandoned graves. They will emerge from royal tombs and open fields of combat. Every person in history will be there, from Abel, the first to pass away to the person being buried at the time Jesus calls.

There will be all of the angels there. The event will be seen by the entire heavenly universe. a shocking conclusion. The Bible states that at some point, Jesus would “separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32). Shepherds carry out this. They move through the herd, using a staff to individually lead sheep and goats in different directions. This image of the Good Shepherd passing through humanity’s flock is graphic. You. Me. our children and parents – everyone.

How can one imagine this situation without the sudden, pressing question: What guides his decision? Jesus separates the people in what way?

Jesus provides the solution. Those on the right, the sheep, will be those who provided for His basic needs such as food and drink when He was in need. They will also be those who provided Him with shelter when He was alone, clothing when He was naked, and comfort when He was ill or in prison. Their care for others in need is an indication that they have been saved. No amount of sympathy can save them or us. Christ did the job of salvation. The fruit of salvation is compassion.

So then the sheep will respond with a serious query, “When did we visit you, feed you, clothe you, or comfort you?” (vv. 34–39)?

Jesus will list each act of compassion one by one – every action taken to raise someone else’s standard of living, even the tiniest. Actually, they all appear little: supplying water, presenting food, swapping clothes. The acts of mercy are straightforward acts. And yet, we serve Jesus through these modest gestures. Amazing truth: by helping those in need, we serve Christ.

Some of them reside in your neighbourhood, while others have names you can’t pronounce and reside in remote jungles. Some of them sell sex on the street or play in cardboard slums. Some of them travel three hours to get water, while others must wait all day for a penicillin shot. Some of them caused their own problems, while others acquired them from their parents.

We can’t all save everyone. However, we can all assist someone. We serve Jesus when we serve others. Who would want to blow an opportunity like that?

The King will then address those on His right and say,

Matthew 25:34–36   “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”