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Before Him Will Be Gathered All the Nations

19 February • Monday of the First Week in Lent


Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Meditation

 

It is when and not if, the Son of Man will come. When He does, He will be on His throne just as Daniel prophesied (Dan 7:13-14). At that time, judgement will be meted out to the nations. The “sheep” will be differentiated from the “goats.”


Those who are found to belong to the former are those who have been made righteous and transformed by Christ Himself. They are the ones who have not only professed their allegiance and faith in God, but also shown by their actions their compassion for those in need—the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger; those who are naked, sick, or in prison. The “goats” on the other hand, are those who might have professed their faith in God, but are devoid of Christly acts.


Jesus’ assertion is that when we show compassion, we identify with Him and what He stands for.


Faith in God is not just about profession with our mouths, but with actions from transformed hearts. This is why it is so challenging to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

For it is convenient to speak than to act out. We are often quick to criticise than to encourage. It seems more natural to thumb down than to lift up, or to fill our thoughts with presumptuous judgements than with compassionate understanding.


The faith that Christ seeks is one that requires us to be Christ-like in thoughts, words and deeds.


Our journey to be Christ-like is work in progress.


Prayer

 

Dear Heavenly Father, as we come before You, lead us gently to Your throne and test our hearts. Help us to examine our lives to weed out empty profession of faith that’s lacking in action. Instead, fill us with compassion and actions that reveal Your divine presence in our lives. Let our actions lead others to You and to worship You as God of the universe. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Action

 

Today, be mindful of our words and actions as we relate with others around us, especially with people who may be unpleasant and difficult.

Be slow to speak and quick to act with compassion and kindness. Love with the love of Christ.

Practice the discipline of secrecy: do compassionate acts of kindness to recipients without them knowing.


Rev Dr Peter Poon

has retired from full-time pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church of Singapore where he served for 40 years. However, he is still actively serving with Walk thru the Bible Ministry (under Bible Society) as regional trainer with the Regional Office of WTB. He’s also a pastoral mentor with Bethel Presbyterian Church.

Rev Poon and his wife Helena have three grown children and four grandchildren. They both enjoy the outdoor and birdwatch whenever possible.

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