Walking In Truth Devotional Update
Let me clarify something I believe is important: this message from the Lord is technically not a parable, though it’s often described as such. It does open with the Lord comparing Himself to a shepherd and His people to sheep and goats. But the rest of the account is the preview of an actual event, not a hypothetical story designed to illustrate a Biblical truth like parables do.
In Matthew 24:1-34 Jesus taught He would come in judgment against Jerusalem and made it crystal clear that judgment would come in the lifetime of the generation of the people to whom He was speaking: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34). This judgment did take place in AD 70 when Roman Armies marched against the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it.
However, from chapter 24:36 Jesus makes a transition from discussing the judgment upon Jerusalem to discussing the final judgment of all humanity. This line of thought concerning the final judgment continues through chapter 25. Jesus is promising there will be a “coming of the Son of man” (24:37, 39, 44; 25:31). Again, Jesus is crystal clear that no one will know when His coming in judgment on all men will occur, but it will happen. In Matt. 24:36 Jesus said: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Jesus then began to illustrate how His coming in judgment on all men will be when men least expect it to happen. It will like in the days of Noah before the flood came as they were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:38). He continued to illustrate this point with the parables The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant in the last part of Matt. 24, and the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the parable of the Talents in chapter 25.
“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Jesus stated very plainly that all nations will appear before Him. Jesus had pointed out earlier, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29). Even though some teach contrary to all nations appearing before Him, Jesus is to be believed and not man. This judgment scene pictures what will happen following that resurrection. Jesus will divide those people into two groups, the sheep, who are representative of those who accepted his leading, and the goats, representing those who would not be led but had to be driven. The sheep will be placed on the right hand because that is the place of honor, while the goats will be on the left where, according to tradition, those condemned in their trials before the Sanhedrin stood (Matt. 25:31-33).
McGarvey in his commentary says, “The word ‘punishment’ expresses misery and suffering purposely inflicted.” He also noted the condemnation of the wicked will be just as long in its duration as the reward of the righteous.
It needs to be understood that this judgment scene only deals with one aspect of our judgment: How we treat one another. Jesus listed six separate acts of service done for others as the reason those on the right hand will be invited into His eternal kingdom (Matthew 25:35-36). John said the said the same: “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18; 4:20-21).
How will Jesus view us at the judgment? As a sheep ready to enter heaven? Or a goat destined for eternal punishment?
By Guy Roberson