In Matthew 24 – 25 we find Jesus’ teaching about the end of time. In the last section, Matthew 25:31-46 we find the familiar story of the final judgement, often referred to as the parable of the sheep and the goats.
There are lots of lessons we could gain from this story, but there’s one we often miss.
You’ll remember that those who were invited into Heaven where those who were in the habit of helping others. Jesus said this about them:
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”Matthew 25:34-35, NLT
Their focus had been on the needs of others and they were surprised that it was especially noteworthy to Jesus. It was just the way they lived expressing God’s love to others.
Those who were left out of Heaven and sent to destruction were not necessarily bad people. They simply had neglected the needs of others and lived only for themselves (see Matthew 25:41-45).
What God values most in this world is people. He sent Jesus into this world to save people. The Apostle John tells us that if we love God we will love His children – the people of this world (see 1 John 3:11-24 & 4:7-21).
The closer we come to Jesus, the more we will adopt His value system. He did not give His life for a system of beliefs, but because He valued people more than even His own life and comfort.
True followers of Jesus will value people – all people – above anything else. Jesus said as much in John 13:34-35, during the last night He was with His disciples prior to His arrest and death.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”John 13:34-35, NLT – emphasis mine
This thought comes from this week’s assignment.
To download it, click here.