Whatever You Did, or Did Not …

Words of Jesus, who is called “Christ.” It is from his title that we derive the word “Christian” (from Matthew 25:34-46)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

•For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“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.’
__________

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

•For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
I was a stranger and you did not invite me in,
I needed clothes and you did not clothe me,
I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Did you notice? — these are precisely the “kinds of people” we instinctively turn away from – unless we’ve had pretty good moral training. But Jesus gets a little repetitive here; maybe he really means it.


Comments

Whatever You Did, or Did Not … — 7 Comments

  1. In addition to the sheep and goats, we also have the “jackals.”

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and strikes down the jackals. He will put the sheep at his right hand, the goats at the left, and the jackals under his feet.

    Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just 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 into eternal life.

    Finally he will say to those crushed under his feet, ‘You vile servants of the devil, you blighted my food and left me hungry, I was thirsty and you fouled my water, you slandered me among my own people to make me a stranger, you stole my clothing and left me naked, I was sick and you turned the physician away, you denied me justice and abandoned me in prison.’

    Then the jackals will gloat, ‘And we deceived many by shouting your name all the while!’ These will be consumed by the devil, for still they failed to lead astray the Lord’s faithful.�

  2. That’s a really good point (that Jesus was so careful to spell out exactly what he was looking for),

    …but I think he would look at nations as a whole as well as individuals. It does seem that the prophets did so: “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.'” Ezekiel 16:49

  3. Two thoughts…

    First, Jesus speaks these words to individuals, not governments. Governments don’t “go away to eternal punishment” or eternal life.

    Second, Jesus implies that treating the naked as though they were hungry, or prisoners as though they were thirsty, might just earn one judgment. Though you can generalize all this as compassion, his taking the time to spell all this out in detail suggests that details like these count.

  4. Truly powerful passages here. Of course, the popular U.S. brand of Christian evangelical fundamentalism can easily obscure (or blatantly deny) these teachings through their name-calling bravado.

    Don’t you know these teachings of Jesus are nothing more than “more liberal propaganda” that should be denigrated at all times?

    A new form of denial seems to be the misuse of prayer. The expression “well, let’s pray about that” is becoming a kind of code language for inaction. I thought I’d never come to this conclusion, but I think we witness examples of this in far too many U.S. churches everyday.

  5. Yes, and from our perspective those on his right are on our left and those on his left are on our right.Which is in fact the attitude of each towards their neighbor.

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