Daily Word

Sheep and Goats Summary | Matthew 25:41-46

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’

44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [ i ]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Matthew 25:41-46 (NASB) 中文

Backdrop

This is Jesus’ final teaching on this topic of His return and end times. This teaching is the judgment that occurs when He returns – probably after the Great Tribulation. This previous passage set the stage for this judgment. Yesterday we looked at the goats; today we look at the sheep and the final status of both. We also noted that this judgment will probably not affect any current followers of Christ but, seeking to be like these sheep is still a worthy goal.

Please re-read this section (Matthew 25:31-40) to get the comparison of the sheep and the goats. The dialog between Jesus and the sheep parallels this with the goats. Here are the differences:

SheepGoats
Position in judgmentRight side (power, use)Left side (disdain)
Jesus’ call“Come” to Jesus“Depart” from Jesus
Relation to Fatherblessed of My Fatheraccursed people
Inheritanceinherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the worldinto the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (demons)
Demonstrated love for Jesusdid it for one of the least of thesedid not do it for one of the least of these
Destinationenter into eternal lifego away into eternal fire
SummaryFaith accompanied by works.No works to demonstrate the faith they claim (Matt 7:21).

Goat surprise

As we noted yesterday, the goats are surprised at Jesus’ response – like the 5 maids, the evil servant and the lazy servant of the previous texts (chapters 24, 25). We can’t say they thought they were serving the Lord. But we can say that the things they were doing, maybe even good things, were not serving the Lord vicariously through “the least of these”. They failed the James faith test: faith without works is dead. (James 2:14-26, esp v26)

RЯeflection

  • Are we living like a sheep or a goat? Are we serving “the least of these” out of Love for Christ that motivates our love for our neighbor? 
  • For those who go through this judgment, failure is eternal and terrible. On the other hand, success is blessed for eternity. “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (v46)

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