The previous day was a very busy day for Jesus. In total, Jesus used fifteen different stories to illustrate His various doctrines. This padre touched upon one of them by discussing the saga of the landowner.
So here is another one, and it’s important because there Jesus clearly draws the line. Making it very clear, concerning some of what He expects Christians to accomplish. It is referred to as the parable of the sheep and the goats. For discussion purposes, it can be tagged, dreams to live and hope to give.
It is significant for reasons other than Christian service to the community. It is the last time that Jesus would visit the temple. Soon thereafter, the Hebrew law would be set aside, and the age of grace would be offered to the world community.
For years, I have been very fond of an acronym for grace. It is the featured event of Holy Week, but one would never think so with the emphasis on new clothes, colored eggs, and chocolate bunnies. A disgrace to the holiness of Holy Week. The acronym is as follows. for “g” God, “r” Riches, “a” At, “c” Christ, “e” Expense.” The central message of Holy Week but not the only message of importance.
The known world at the time of Christ was to experience the most phenomenal event in world history. The ushering in and the establishment of Christianity. Only to be followed by yet another phenomenal event. Recorded in Revelation 19:15, “He will smite the nations ruling them with a rod of iron.” With the grand climax occurring as pronounced in Matthew 25:34. “…. Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
That folks is the complete history of Holy Week and the age of grace. It’s what we Christ followers have to look forward to, when we walk the talk and when necessary pay the price. Perhaps to experience contempt, prosecutions, jail and even death.
What we do not know is, when will Jesus end the madness, of and, between the nations? And when will the blessed of His Father, inherit the promised kingdom? What we do know is that turbulent times will come into existence. Sometime during the later part of the age of the church and beyond.
Making it virtually impossible for rational states to exist and govern from a perspective of sanity. Mainly because the multiple swirling of catastrophic events. Pandemics such as COVID-19. Resulting with their own life defying complications.
But as time proceeds other pandemics will torture humanity, “In those days people will seek death, and will not find it. They will desire to die, but death will flee from them.” Scriptural text: Revelation 9:6.
Causing unemployment, starvation and clean water shortages. Including unprecedented powerful earthquakes hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and droughts because of global warming. Is it any wonder that we’ll find humanity begging that death might capture them?
The last message Jesus delivered at the temple set the standard for Christian behavior. Jesus said that failure to preform this duty would have serious consequences. So adamant was Jesus that He promised to someday gather the people of all nations to a summit at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Note Matthew 25:32.
Jesus compared this summit as a division between sheep and goats. There they would have to give an account for their successes or failures. The sheep are the righteous for they honored their Christian responsibility while the goats failed.
The reward the sheep experience is recorded in Matthew 25:34. With the King saying to the sheep. “Come you, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Why? “Hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, imprisoned, and you provided for My basic survival needs,” verses 35-36. They asked, “When did we do this?” verses 37-39, Jesus answered, “… inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me,” verse 40. This section should be read in conjunction with yesterday’s discussion, “The economics of Holy Week.”
The experience of the goats is recorded in verses 41-46. They wanted to know from Jesus when had they failed. Jesus simply answered. Failure to provide for the peoples basic needs for survival is the same as not doing it for Me. The goats will go away into everlasting punishment. While the sheep, experience life eternal.
Envision our Christ like responsibility as a series of necessities to be accomplished. We must pattern our lives after His. And, with determination execute the aforementioned directives Jesus demanded of His sheep.
Not as duty, but as passionate love for those in need. For all Christians, it should encompass all of our lives daily. One person at a time and one issue at a time. Done without a lot of noise or notice. Especially, with issues, which usually represented projects of some sort of controversy.
The Christ reference to “imprisonment,” verse 36, has caused this Padre to speculate on what was meant by that expression. Concluding that those behind bars should be visited. But the deeper metaphorical meaning is represented by people, imprisoned by life’s cruel circumstances, verse 40. Some self inflicted and others by circumstances beyond their control.
As Christ followers, we should look for opportunities to offer hope. Remember, hope to give. Done with no noise or notice just hope from those with dreams to live. The point being that it is something all Christ followers can do. Few of us can change the world, but all of us can help a little.
This day in the life of Jesus moves on with it being a day of teaching. Making it a rather peaceful day for Jesus. But, not for the religious leaders. One can only imagine how Jesus upset them. Talking about setting aside their law dating back hundreds of years. This talk about everlasting life or eternal punishment. Jesus claiming foreknowledge of His death. But the death would only be temporary because of His resurrection, ascension to to be with His Father, later to return and establish a kingdom on earth.
Wow! they must have concluded. This is the talk of a crazy man who is becoming more dangerous to the existing establishment. They must have thought, if this continues there may well be a revolution.
A successful revolution was possible they thought. Because more, and more people were siding with Jesus. What to do, they wondered. With the high priest Caiaphas presiding they concluded that they would have to capture Jesus by surprise and kill Him, Matthew 26:2-4.
But they would have to over come a major hurdle because it was nearing Passover. And they did not want to further enrage the people. They would need assistance, and the assistance they would receive would came from the inside. One by betrayal and the other by denial which in itself is picturesque. Meaning His sheep with dreams to live and hope to give can expect adversity to strike from the unexpected.
People are needed especially those who want to change the world the Christ way. In the previous discussions it was suggested that it could be accomplished by up setting the apple cart. Implementing the duality of Matthew 21:41,… destroy those wicked men and create a new vineyard where economic justice is a justice of the work force.
For this discussion changing the world the Christ way is offering dreams to live and hope to give. All in accordance with Matthew 25:37-40.
Not one of us? Join the Christ family by following the prompts found in Romans 10:9-10. Then notice verses 11-13, all of which creates the universality so many seek. And if our paths don’t cross in this world, they will in the next.
This Padre duly ordained and having a degree in political science. Is available to address the broad spectrum of organized secular groups within our communities. Right through to the many denominational churches doting the American landscape.
Exercise your prerogatives from the vast repertoire of interests to be explored. From the galaxy of the conventional to the corridors of issues usually avoided.
Scheduling can be accomplished through the Contact Us link on my Home page. Living room conversations work well, as do other forums where people can gather. Private consultations are also available by issue or topic. Through the various mediums of your choice.
CfS is a church without walls, and therefore without membership.