The Parable Of The Sheep And The Goats


‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “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, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters 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, ‘Truly I tell you, 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.” Matthew 25:31-46

This is the last story of Jesus’ teaching ministry, and this insight into the final judgment mustn’t be missed.

So, what have we learned so far? Jesus said, “When the Son of man comes back he’s going to be looking for faith.” Luke 18:8. He’s going to be looking for a faith that was steady for the long haul. He’s going to be looking for a faith that actively attempts to increase the master’s kingdom assets.

And how is that done? The third thing we learn, that matters most of all to the Master is, serving people. Real faith possesses a heart for others, faith becomes love or else it’s not real faith. In every one of these stories, there’s a big surprise when the Master returns.

Judgement day is going to be full of surprises. I think one of the things that are going to surprise most people is the things that they thought were so important. The things they fought about, the things that split churches all over the place, didn’t matter much to the judge.

Because the judge taught there are basically two commandments, ‘Love God with all you’ve got and love His children too.’ Mark 12:30-31. He says, ‘you’re making it way too hard people, it’s not that hard, two things I’m looking for.’ We can’t keep the 1st commandment if you don’t keep the 2nd commandment, 1 John 4:19-21.

Notice two very critical observations about judgement according to Jesus.

1. What the judge expects is within the reach of everyone.

The sheep did what every man can do, their labour of love didn’t require a vast amount of money. Their labour of love didn’t require a lot of theological instructions. Don’t say, ‘I’m not a five-talent man, so I can’t do that.’ Everything the judge wants to see most is something every person can do.

They didn’t perform big miracles, notice, He didn’t say, ‘you healed the sick.’ He didn’t say, ‘you freed the prisoners.’ He didn’t say, ‘you’ll stop world hunger.’ He said, ‘you visited sick people, you went to a few jails, you shared your food.’

It wasn’t big miracles, it was little ministries that we can all do, the necessities of life, food, drink, clothing, shelter, medical care, and comfort in affliction, Matthew 25:35-39 / Matthew 25:42-44 / 1 John 3:17-18.

The first thing the Judge is going to look for is something everyone can do.

2. Those who the Judge called ‘good’ were quite aware of their goodness.

They didn’t do their labour of love to be seen by men, and that’s the difference between living by faith and being a legalist. A legalist can always tell you what their acts of goodness are, they keep a record of it. These people weren’t keeping records, this wasn’t done for merit.

This was just the unconscious outflow of the heart that was changed by the Master’s grace. And even though they didn’t know it, every act of kindness they did to another human being, the Master received as a gift to Himself.

Someday the whole world is going to understand what we’ve talked about. The whole world is going to understand that what they thought was important, wasn’t important, but we can understand now. We have insight now into what the whole world is going to find out then.

On that day, a lot of people are going to be shocked, including many believers, to find out that what they thought mattered didn’t and what they didn’t think mattered does.

They’re finally going to find out what Paul said, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6.

Jesus makes a point that few people believe. Yes, there is heaven, and the blessed will enjoy it eternally. But just as truly there is hell, a place of eternal torment, Mark 9:43-48, that is equal in duration to the eternal life in heaven of the blessed.

The terms ‘everlasting’ and ‘eternal’, Matthew 25:46 are both translations of the same Greek word, which means ‘without end’.

The best way to wait forwardly for Jesus is to ask yourself every day, ‘what am I doing for people that cannot pay me back?’

The thing about waiting for Jesus to come back is that we don’t have to wait to serve Him, we can serve Him right now by doing for people that can’t pay us back.

I believe taking judgment seriously means taking Jesus seriously now.

So today is your day to make that judgement, but if the Bible is right, tomorrow is His day to make the judgement.