Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Matt. 25:31 ¶ “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.
Matt. 25:32 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,
Matt. 25:33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Matt. 25:34 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;
Matt. 25:35 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,
Matt. 25:36 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.’
Matt. 25:37 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?
Matt. 25:38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
Matt. 25:39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’
Matt. 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
The disciples and those following Jesus really did not understand the reality of the new kingdom. King David and his son, Solomon were historical reminders of what the people believed the kingdom was supposed to look like. These were kinds with hundreds of horses and people within their courts who would bow before them and cheer them on. David was a great warrior who destroyed the enemies which surrounded the Israelites. These were powerful men who had hundreds, if not thousands of servants. Isn't that what it meant to be a king and have a kingdom?
And now Jesus describes those who will be in the kingdom. They will not be the rich and powerful, but the humble, gentle and compassionate. There is nothing here about "protecting" the kingdom or fighting for the kingdom. Instead it's all about how we live out the love of God and minister to the least of those -- because through ministry to the least, we love our heavenly Father. Love of God and love of neighbor; this is the most important of all!
Could it be that followers of Jesus Christ may not realize that they are caught up in old concepts of kingdom? Maybe it's seen in the life of a church. A church becomes completely consumed with the idea of "protecting" the kingdom. We take on the David complex and we want to build a large kingdom and fight off any advances of the enemy that we believe may be encroaching on the kingdom. But that's old kingdom business and Jesus came and put that old business to rest. He ushered in a new kingdom and this is the one in which we are to participate.
Within the new kingdom we are no longer concerned about "turf wars." Instead, our concern and focus is to minister to the least of these. In the new kingdom it's not about what I want in church. It's about "what would be the best thing for those who need to know the Lord?"
Why should Christians be speaking out against the atrocities of this world? Because they are happening to the very least! Just yesterday I learned that in Canton, Ohio there are 687 girls between the ages of 9-17 who are being sold on our streets! What is our kingdom response? Don't we have to do something to get involved? "The king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’"
The harsh reality is that Jesus was making these statements in light of final judgment where people are separated to the right and to the left of God. Those on the right will be welcomed eternally into the kingdom. Those who have been about the work of kingdom business are the ones who will be with God eternally. Therefore we need to realize that true kingdom business is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, welcome prisoners, take care of the sick, and visit those in prison. If we were all to evaluate our lives in light of this kingdom business, what would we discover?
Lord, please forgive me for when I get distracted by the things that don't really matter. Please give me your eyes to see the needs of the kingdom that surround me. Amen.