“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.’ Matthew 25:40
Treat my spouse as I would Jesus? Not going to happen! One has to wonder if we really believe these plain words. Do you see Christ in your spouse and seek to meet his or her genuine needs as though he or she is Christ Himself standing before you? Do you see Christ in your child? In your parents? In your neighbor? (Use the definition of “neighbor Jesus gives in Luke 10:29). This account Jesus tells of the universal finale upon His return ought to be transformative in how you NOW treat others who are in the household of faith especially, and those who are not, but whom you hope will be. In His account of the sheep and the goats this is plainly what Jesus says. In fact, it is a definer in separating the sheep and the goats whose separation is forever. Is this intended as an incentive to give the next poor-looking panhandler a handout? Not necessarily; they are maybe not poor, or possibly feeding an addiction. “How blessed is the man who WISELY considers the poor man’s case.
Furthermore, Matthew 25 is not a command to care for the physically poor. However, the poor are included, while the full intent of the command concerns all that are spiritually poor, since there is a variable poverty of the knowledge of God and the fullness of the gospel in everyone. We minister to all members of the body of Christ in obeying these words of Jesus; we serve others who may not be in His family, because we genuinely hope by our ministry in His name to meet their needs, physically and spiritually, and bring them to the Savior and into His kingdom.
The spiritually poor need to be fed; they need to drink the living water; they need to be clothed with the armor of salvation; they need to be transformed from aliens to adopted members of God’s family; they need to be healed with the balm of Gilead; they need to be set free from the bondage of sin. This is not primarily a passage for social justice as it is used in many circles, while ignoring much else in God’s Word; it is a passage requiring spiritual justice, giving flesh to Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself, and loving God just as He has loved you!
Very unfortunately, seeing this passage only in terms of caring for the physically poor, has led many to miss the thrust of Jesus’ words concerning how we are to treat everyone around us, beginning with our own household (Jerusalem), our neighborhood (Samaria), our place of work, leisure, school, wherever we are called (the uttermost part of the world). Seeing our family members and our neighbors as Christ Jesus, transforms your eyes, hands, energy, mind, and heart. You begin to see them as He does. Not impossible; else He would not say what He has.
When you fail to be concerned enough about the spiritual needs in your brother, sister or child, when you bark at your spouse, when your own convenience and pleasure is your first thought, you need to become immediately pricked by this: you are treating Jesus the same way. The warning of Jesus in Matthew 25 ought to penetrate a calloused heart as you contemplate final judgment, if indeed you give it any serious thought. The warning of Jesus needs to stir your mind, “Many will say to me in that Day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not…….!’ And he will say to them, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you!’ (Matthew 7:22) Those words bring an exclamation point to this account of the sheep and the goats. Which will you be? What are you now?
Relook with eyes of faith how you see those before you. See them as Jesus Himself. How would you treat Him if He were standing right in front of you? Well, He is!
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