By Richard Ettensohn
In Matthew Chapter 25, Christ continues teaching his disciples on the Mount of Olives. In Chapter 24, Christ taught them about the signs of the close of the age, the abomination of desolation, and His second coming. Also, He has warned his Church to be watchful and diligent while awaiting His second coming because He will come at an hour that is unexpected (Matthew 24:44).
In Matthew Chapter 25, Christ emphasizes his previous warning to watch by telling the parable of the ten virgins – five wise and five foolish (Matthew 25: 1 – 13). Then He tells the parable of the men who are given the talents (Matthew 25 14 – 30).
Christ concludes this teaching with very specific words about the judgment (Matthew 25:31 – 46). These words call me to me consider my thoughtless and sinful ways and to grieve, repent, and amend them.
There are many things to consider about this judgment.
First – the judgment will be rendered after Christ returns in glory.
Second – every person will be judged.
Third – Christ will render the judgment.
Fourth – Christ will make the judgment as king.
Fifth – the judgment is either eternal punishment or eternal life.
Sixth – the judgment is a final judgment (there is no appeal).
Seventh – the judgment will be public.
Eighth – the judgment will take account of our actions. Although right belief is essential, it is not sufficient (see James 2:25).
Ninth – the judgment depends on how we treat the “least of these” persons, not on how we treat our families and friends or the powerful, wealthy, healthy, worldly-wise, and others whose approval can benefit us (Matthew 25:40).
Tenth – the judgment will not be “on the curve.” The judgment will be in accordance with Christ’s standards, not by comparisons with other persons.
Eleventh – the judgment seems to be based on a person’s patterns and practices of life; not on one-time acts of good or evil.
Twelfth – the judgment of the goats is not a source of joy to the Lord. “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
Merciful God, help us to live our lives as your sheep.
Help us to live in the light of both your righteous justice and your grace. You are both the Lion and the Lamb.
“From all blindness of heart, from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred and malice; and from all want of charity,
Good Lord, deliver us.” (The Great Litany)