Wednesday Reflections – Matthew 25: 31-46 – The World of the Text

This week we’re going to be looking at a passage that has both formed me and given me much need for self-reflection. The passage is Matthew 25: 31- 46

Today we’re going to look at the world of the text, what is actually happening in the passage that we read.  There are a lot of interesting things happening in this parable. We see in verse 31, that the Son of Man comes to his glory, and the angels are with him. It’s interesting that this passage refers to Jesus as the Son of Man, that is a reference to the book of Daniel. There are various titles for Jesus in Scripture, each with its own specific meaning. He’s often called the Son of God, which is a very Jewish concept. He’s sometimes called the son of David, which is a reference to him being the lineage of David, which often has a political meaning to it. 

The Son of Nan, though, is very specific. This is a reference to the Messiah that comes from the book of Daniel, who will be the judge of all this is a very specific thing and has to it, and apocalyptic our judgment nature to it. When Jesus calls himself the Son of man. He is saying that he is the one who will be the judge of all.  He will be the one who is the Lord of all.

Another interesting thing we see in this passage is separation between sheep and goats. We think of sheep as something to be aspired to. But in that context, being called a sheep is not a good thing, sheep were not particularly smart creatures, they needed a shepherd to lead them.  

Goats, on the other hand, were strong and independent goats did not need someone to guide them in the same way that she did scripturally when we are called sheep. That implies that we need a shepherd who will guide us and take care of us without a shepherd, the sheep would not be able to survive. This is a reminder that those who lean upon the Lord need his shepherding and need his care. We need God’s help to survive.  In this passage we see that the sheep are the ones who take care of the weakest among the best and the most frail among us, that the goats are independent, and do not see the need of others. 

Another interesting thing is that the things that the sheep do: giving water, giving food, giving shelter giving clothing, are the same things that Jesus had expectation that would be given to his followers in Matthew 10. In Matthew 10 he sends them out and tells them, do not take food, clothing, are anything but depend upon the hospitality of the villages.  They will do ministry and there’s this expectation that the sheep should show the same level of hospitality and care to others, that they would expect to receive themselves in many ways this passage is the practical application of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a visible application of the golden rule. This is a reminder for us to be generous in all of our lifestyle. Tomorrow we’re going to take a look at what this means for our lives, moving forward.

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