Matthew chapter 24 through 25, presents a series of eschatological parables that are paramount in all Christian circles and the world at large.
Jesus is communicating his last words. Final words are very vital, and Jesus knows that His crucifixion is near. He is about to complete His mission and give the mantle to His disciples. He, therefore, infuses these poignant and powerful Kingdom lessons into their minds and ours.
In these two chapters, Jesus is basically underscoring the significance of doing work in God’s kingdom. He is pointing out the connection between works and judgement.
One might ask though, “is God going to judge us according to our works during the judgement day?” This question is likely to prompt debate when we consider “grace versus works gospel.”
One might argue that we are saved by grace and not our works, which is true. Another would state that God is only concerned with our hearts but not works. Someone else would boast that their good works alone will take them to heaven.
My opinion is that, while Jesus saved us by grace, we are no longer walking in the former wicked ways. Once we are transformed, we continue doing good works and these are going to determine our ultimate destiny on judgement day.
We cannot claim to be saved and changed yet, our characters are suggestive of unseemly works. Grace cannot dwell with sin.
Jesus in Matthew 7:15 cautions us to be cognizant of false prophets. He continues:
“… therefore by their fruits, you will know them.”Matthew 7:17-20.
No wonder many are going to be greeted with a big surprise on judgement day, for they are going to discover that their works, once thought gracious are actually against God’s will.
“… many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And I will say to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”Matthew 25:41.
Pause for a moment… consider what it means and feels. God help us.
Matthew chapter 25 from verse 31 gives an account of the final judgement based on our works of compassion to those in need.
Jesus returns in His glory, sits on His throne, before Him, is an assemblage of all nations. He separates the people as a shepherd separates sheep and goats. (Matthew 25:32).
To the sheep He says:
“… come you blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…”Matthew 25:34-36.
To the goats He says:
“…Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…”Matthew 25:41-43.
Notice the fate of the sheep and goats. It is based on what they are doing or not doing for the needy. The Bible calls the needy “one of these little ones.”
It is apparent that the little acts of compassion we are doing to the less privileged matter a lot. Whatever we are giving out of compassion, however small it is, is a great feat. We don’t need to be noticed, Jesus is seeing and rewarding openly. For, we are actually doing His work.
Now, let me enumerate these six acts of compassion as embodied in this account. What if we begin practising them?
- Feeding the hungry.
- Giving a drink to the thirsty.
- Being hospitable to strangers.
- Providing clothing to the naked.
- Visiting the sick.
- Visiting the prisoners.
Here follow some scriptures highlighting the need for sharing with the needy. They are few of the numerous and similar scriptures in the old and new testament. Unpack the compassion packed within them.
“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”I Peter 4:9-10.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”Romans 12:15.
“Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well being.”1 Corinthians 10:24.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember prisoners as if chained with them-those who are mistreated-since you yourselves are in the body also.”Hebrews 13:1-3.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”James 1:27.
Brothers and sisters, we are not going to disregard the plight of our fellow brothers and sisters who are agonizing.
God is concerned about our attitudes and actions regarding the less privileged. He actually chastised Nabal when he declined to show benevolence to David and his men. (1 Samuel 25). What are we doing or not doing for the needy?
If we take Jesus’s words seriously, we are going to emulate Him, or at least start learning to imitate Him. We are going to take the plunge right now. We are going to begin extending our compassion to the orphans. The strangers. The depressed. The widows. The mistreated…
That done, soon, when we appear before the judgement seat of God, we are going to rejoice to hear, “come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” Amen!
God loves you!