MATTHEW 25:34-40: “Then the King will say to those on his 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.”
OBSERVATION: Jesus is coming back again – are you ready? These were words that were spoken often in the 1970’s and 1980’s during the “Jesus Movement”. The imminent return of Jesus Christ was one of the key revelations that helped to spark this revival. I was so confident that it would happen “any day” that I tried to convince myself and my wife that I could not afford to go to college because the time was so short. I needed to be about the Father’s business – NOW!
Well, I did finish college. And now it is some almost 40 years later and many of the predictions and dates set for His coming have come and gone. There is not the same fervor concerning His soon return. Many who were on fire in the Jesus Movement are now arranging their retirements and planning their trips. What happened? Is Jesus really coming back? What am I supposed to be doing while I wait?
Reading Matthew 24 and 25 together gives us some insight. Matthew 24 gives us an overview of the “End Times” and many of the events that have taken place and are yet to unfold. It warns us about those who would deceive us and also against those who would set dates. It also exhorts us to be “ready”. Matthew 25 gives us practical advice on how to be ready. Jesus teaches two main parables in this chapter. The first is the parable of the “Ten Virgins” preparing for the Bridegroom. The second is the well known parable of the “Talents”. The chapter ends up with the “Final Judgment” of mankind. What does Matthew 25 really tell us?
We have all heard the exhortations to be ready and to be engaged in the Father’s business. We usually like to refer to these parables when we are trying to exhort people to use their God given talents in meaningful service. However, this is where our understanding can get blurred. Unfortunately, much of what we do in the name of “church” is not really the focus that Jesus is exhorting us to. The bottom line of all we do as we await His return is – PEOPLE! It is simply the fulfillment the two “Great Commandments” – Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourself!
I find it enlightening that those who were commended at the end did not even realize that they had “traded well” with their talents. Their service and love for their fellow man naturally flowed out of their great love for God. They asked the Lord – “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?”
Jesus’ answer is very revealing to our call while we await for His return. MATTHEW 25:40: “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.” The blessedness and reward for this sacrificial life is found in the invitation that the Lord gives to them – MATTHEW 25:34: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Jesus sums up our calling as we await His return – PEOPLE! It is the same purpose that He had when He walked this earth. Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many!
Lord, help me to recapture my zeal for Your soon coming return. Help me to be fully ready and engaged in the Father’s business – extending Your Love to hurting people. You have called us to proclaim this Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations before You return. Help me to be faithful in fulfilling my part. May my love for You be the motivation and driving factor in my love for others. In Jesus Name!