“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,” vs. 32
According to Matthew Jesus began his teaching ministry with the Beatitudes, a powerful set of sayings that describes those who are his disciples. We hold those verses close to our hearts and pray that people will see these attributes taking root in our lives. At the end of Matthew’s gospel Jesus brings his teaching to an end with this parable describing the final judgment. Everything that he had to say to his followers is summed up in this plain and pertinent story. There’s no mystery here and it certainly isn’t hard to understand. We can’t possibly miss his point. He begins by describing a great gathering of the nations…this isn’t just about us as individuals…it’s the nations who are being held accountable. That’s an important distinction. Just as the prophets of old had brought words of judgment to the whole nation of Israel for the way they had exploited the poor and the needy, so all the nations of the world will one day be subject to the judgment of the Son of Man. In other words, Jesus has a word for America. He’s not the least bit interested in our GDP or how Wall Street is doing. If we really want to be great everything depends upon how we treat those who are the least among us. There’s really no other possible interpretation!
Thought for the Day: What if Congress took this parable seriously?