Our scripture this week is Matthew 25:31-46, taken today from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 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; 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, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’ “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; 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; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 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 take care of You?’ 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.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Jesus tells us that we saw Him in need and didn’t help. We are incredulous – how would we not help our Lord and Savior?! The realization dawns when He says “to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either” (v. 45).
We are eager to see Jesus but we don’t recognize Him in the people we see every day. We expect someone or something else. In that respect, we are like many of the people of that time who didn’t see Jesus as the Messiah because He didn’t fit their expectations.
What are we expecting? The old hymn tells us “they’ll know we are Christians by our love” and that is also how we recognize Jesus – through His love shared to us and we to each other. Then we can see the needs of our brothers and sisters and care for them as Jesus taught.
Loving Lord, we often fail to see and help as You intend. Make us more aware of the call placed on our lives to lift each other up in Your love. Amen.