FORGIVENESS AND HOPE
Read: Matthew 25:34-40
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” (NIV Matthew 25:34-40)
Study: Jesus gave a word picture of the final judgment, using his familiar technique of telling a short “parable” story. His judgment story clearly showed his Kingdom’s priorities. Kingdom people, he said, care for the hungry and thirsty, the poorly-clothed and strangers, the prisoners and the sick—the people whom Jesus called “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.” Jesus knew that, most of the time, it’s relatively easy to serve people doing well. He said we meet him with those who are poor, sick, hungry—and in prison. We sometimes say we should “see the face of Jesus” in people in need, and help them. But in Jesus’ story, both those accepted and the ones turned away were surprised. Jesus said all people in need of help were his brothers and sisters. We’re one human family—and people treated unjustly, or facing poverty and illness, are “us,” not “them.” In what ways can you sense God reshaping your attitudes toward “the least of these” in your community and world?
Pray: Lord Jesus, how many times have I met you, needing justice, food or healing, and turned away without recognizing you? Forgive me, and keep shifting my perspective to see and act with your compassion. Amen.