Just the text:
Matthew 25: 32-46 (The Message)
32 Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, 33 putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. 35 And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, 36 I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? 38 And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ 39 40 Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. 42 And why? Because – I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’ 44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’ 45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me – you failed to do it to me.’ 46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”
Now, just some questions:
- Is Jesus really saying that I am to do these things personally- does he mean me or is this some general parable that I can take figuratively?
- How do these things fit into what I have prioritized as most important in my Christian walk?
- Who are the “overlooked and ignored?”
- Are these kinds of people really worth our effort? (After all in terms of contributing to the church they seem to offer little.)
- Is Jesus really in these kinds of people?
- What difference would it make if we believed he was? Why?
- Will we really be sent to our “eternal doom” if we fail to do these things?
- What kind of difference can we make if we do them?
- Is there any significance in the placement of this story in the timeline of Christ’s ministry? What might that be?
- Why do you think Jesus reacts as he does to those he calls the “goats?”