Matthew 25:31-33 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
The first time I heard the school chaplain describe Jesus’ followers as sheep, it highly offended me.
“Sheep?! Surely there are better animals He could equate us to… — A lion, dolphin, or dog?” Running through the list of my favorite animals, I didn’t care to be any of them. My haughty 7th-grade-self felt much more important. Didn’t God make us in His image?
That was before I knew the Lord personally as my Good Shepherd. That was before I understood Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb before us. He set the example, not to follow by compulsion but in response to His love.
Matthew 25:40, 45, 46 “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.’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
So, what’s the deal? We have to be pushovers like a sheep, not pushy like a goat? We have to work our way into heaven?
No! The Bible indicates, we can never do enough, nor be good enough to enter God’s Kingdom on our own merit. We need Jesus, the Spotless Lamb of God, who made a way for us. We know we’re saved through faith alone. But as James indicates, faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). For faith generates all these works listed in Matthew 25:35-36, taking a stand for Jesus. Not to earn salvation, for none can earn it, but by Christ’s finished work on the cross. (Ephesians 2:9)
It’s a good idea to check our motive to love and serve others? Are we trying to gain access to Heaven that our Savior already provided? Or is our servitude in response to the One who saved us?
Today’s parable speaks of God’s Judgement on mankind. We who trust in Jesus for our salvation will be at His right hand, with the rest of His sheep. For He is able to lift us up with His mighty right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
As I mature in Christ, I am now honored and comforted to know I’m one of God’s precious sheep. Because at one time, My Shepherd left the 99 to fetch me! (Matthew 18:10-14 , Luke 15:1-7) I turned from my idea of the way to go to follow the One who made the way. (Isaiah 53:6)
Oh Lord, God’s Spotless Lamb, and Loving Shepherd, Praise Your great name for selflessly dying in our place. We are Your precious sheep, whom You’ll never leave nor forsake. Refresh anew the greatness of Your sacrifice and love for us each morning. Love through us for what You’ve done for us! ~Amen.
For the full parable of Sheep and Goats, see Matthew 25:31-46
1 John 4:19-21
Beside laying our life down for others, we can share the good news of Jesus laying down His for all. We plant the seed and Watch it Grow.