Compassion and the End Times in Matthew

What Bible verse said, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine…”?

This saying is found as Jesus teaches about end times events, specifically the final judgment when he comes back to the earth to sit on his throne (Matthew 25:31-46). Some people talk about this as the “sheep and goats.”

The sheep of the righteous people who have followed Jesus and did for others through compassion ministry what they would do for anyone. They are taught by Jesus how to have compassion on others. And he commends them for having compassion (Matthew 25:33-40).

On the other hand, he turns to the “goats,” unbelievers who have not done his will or word, and tells them to depart from him (Matthew 25:41-46). In this final judgment, they are destined for eternal condemnation because they did not have compassion on those who needed it most.

The specific phrase comes from Matthew 25:40. There is the reverse of it for unbelievers in Matthew 25:45. The point that Jesus makes is that the sheep, believers in him, have treated others the way he taught them naturally, without needing to be told to do it.

But the goats, those who do not believe in him or practice his teachings, lacked the common courtesy of compassion on those who were in need. This will be the way that he judges between his saints, the sheep, and unbelievers, the goats.

Compassion is one of the keys of the kingdom of Jesus. He teaches us to treat others with great kindness, just as he has taught and given grace to all who believe. I love the fact that believers in Jesus don’t pass some theological test, but rather a practical one in the final judgment.

The judgment is not for believers, for they pass the test naturally. The final judgment is for unbelievers who cannot understand how to have compassion on others. Because they can’t demonstrate it to the least of these in great need, Jesus does not demonstrate compassion toward the goats.

Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

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