PARABLES DAY 22 - 31 May 2018

Ben Fourie

“I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these members of my family, you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40

This is may not be a parable in the strictest sense of the word, but nonetheless a richly chequered story about sheep and goats, naked people being clothed, the ill being treated and prisoners being visited. This was the last time that Jesus actually spoke in public and here we find the core of His whole message, as from here on the way leads to Bethany, the Passover in Jerusalem, the cross, death, a grave and then finally, an empty tomb. Here at the very last, the most crucial question was still about with what authority He was doing all of this.

Two things come under scrutiny. The first is the idea of a Shepherd separating the sheep from the goats which we also find in Ezekiel 34:17-22. There we read about God taking over, we read about God not willing to tolerate the abuse of His sheep anymore. At the last judgment the goats, in this sense those who oppressed His sheep, will receive their just penalty. We sometimes try to think of a way out even for the goats, but the Bible is very clear about this.

In the second instance, we deal with the question of how I know that I am one of the sheep. We take our clue again from Ezekiel, especially verses 18 and 19. Take time to read them. Now we really understand what Jesus meant by saying, “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes.” Are we then sheep because we do all of these good things? Unfortunately not, as good deeds in and of themselves do not count for anything. What is most important is that they point towards the great commandment where we hear that we must love the Lord our God above all and our neighbour as we love ourselves. Even this would not have been possible had it not been for the fact that God loved us first. In verse 34 we hear the King very clearly: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father!”

Prayer: Thank you that you made me one of your sheep. Please help me to convey some of this love to somebody else.

Go to top