We all know Matthew 25 and it needs little explaining. In preparing for next Sunday, three thoughts run through my mind. They are not connected, so I will treat them separately.
Firstly, the phrase “all the nations”. This clearly refers to the “others”, the non-Chosen people. Have you ever been asked, will Buddhists or Moslems or Pagans generally go to Heaven? This is the Scripture to teach ourselves and others that judgement does not depend on race or Culture or Religion. Sheep will be Sheep and Goats will be goats!!!! Kindness to others is the standard for all the nations.
Secondly, the phrase:” Whatever you do to one of these, the least of my brothers, you do unto me”. For much of my life I took this in a negative manner, i.e., that God will make me account for every time I was unkind to others. That of course is true and is part of the Parable. But the meaning of the text also is very positive, i.e., that God remembers all the good we have done and he will reward us. How comforting to know that God remembers our good deeds as being done to Him! That will help us all on “that day”.
Thirdly, back to “all the nations”. As chosen people, the disciples of Jesus, we are expected to live as outlined in the Parable. But we must remember also that much more is expected of us. We are expected to forgive and to love one another. To whom more is given, more is expected. Of course Jesus will expect more from His followers than from those who have never heard of Him.
Heaven is open to all. The standard is kindness. Kind actions will be considered as being done to Jesus himself. Disciples of Jesus need to do that. But also they must forgive and love one another.
Make sure we are with the Sheep!!