31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f]you did it to me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
But, you need to read the preceding portion of the chapter to “get it”:
1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet the bridegroom.[b] 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents,[d] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ~MT 25.1-30
John, then wrote this on his blog this morning:
Last night I spoke at Tribe L A. They asked me to just share whatever was on my heart. Well, what was on my heart, was to share this story about meeting Jesus on the train. And to talk about perception.
In Mattew 25 Jesus says that in the great judgement at the end of days, people will be judged not on their theology, but on how they treat those that are poor, oppressed and marginalized. But Jesus does an interesting thing, he confronts our perceptions.
There are so many people that don’t really care about helping others. That only look out for themselves. But the vast majority actually do believe in helping those that deserve it. The deserving poor, should be helped. Those that fell through the cracks, or are experiencing problems not of their own making. If our perception is that they deserve help we will help.
But what if they don’t “deserve” help. What if they are poor because of their own issues, their own bad decisions? Why should we help those people?
Well Jesus changes our perception. Jesus doesn’t allow us to view from deserving, or undeserving, but makes us view things based on our view of Him. We are called to recognize in each and every person, the presence of Christ. Each and every person, is where God and heaven touches earth. And how we respond to these people, is the truth of our faith. How you treat these least of these, is how you actually are treating God in flesh.
Perception is the key, and Christ changes our perception
Explosive considerations that rock the status quo and challenge how we engage people, the reasons we do it and the issue that we will care “if they deserve it”. Yet, Jesus’ words throughout this chapter are head on, spoken in the sober last days before He made propitiation. May we not cower from His call to sacrifice our lives to live His nature and character, not ours.
Lord, who am I to judge who deserves love, charity, grace, favor, relief? I am need of the same for my heart and soul need the same Christ to cover my sin. May I be humble, postured to live like You every single ordinary day. Amen.