Follow me on Twitter @psephizo. Rhetorically, the gospel is written primarily to believers and so this is not a question of faith or works, but of people living out their faith – do-ers of the Word not hearers only, those who let their light shine before others so their good works lead to those others giving glory to God. When Christ asks us to feed to hungry and reach out to the least, the last and the lost I take him at his word. Or naked and give you clothing? I think this passage is one of those that is claimed by both parties as it is seen as a key passage in how we interpret the wider implications of the gospel, whether the social engagement is core to our faith or an ethical addition (how I think some put it). What is the story of Jesus and the Bible all about? 3. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. And will any Christian reply, “How could this astonish them? I am also struck that all of the conditions mentioned in Matt. There is a danger of confusing these. “The absolute authority afforded Jesus here fits most precisely the standard Jewish picture of God judging the nations in the day of judgement. My go-to verse for collective punishment is Joshua 7 where all of Achan’s pay the punishment for Achan. Jesus begins the parable by saying it concerns His return in glory to set up His kingdom (Matthew 25:31). On the other hand: do you think that the only ways someone could end up in prison was if they were either bona fide criminals or persecuted Christian missionaries? The king invites those on his right to ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world…’, they respond with complete surprise, and the king has to explain that ‘Whenever you did this for the least…you did it for me’. That would be a sign of theological gymnastics. A friend emailed me back in February and quoted Matthew 25v32 as saying Jesus will separate Nation from Nation in the end times. When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’. The text is clarified by two elements: It’s a lot earlier, of course, but the Ammonites’ abuse of David’s emissaries in 2 Samuel 10 reflects the same understanding. These people receive the disciples of Jesus *as they are going about their business of proclaiming the kingdom in word and deed*. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. “18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”. Let’s celebrate together!’. Use this free Bible lesson when teaching kids the parable of the Ten Virgins from Matthew 25:1-12. Thus Jesus shows he identifies so closely with his disciples that what people do to them, they do to him. Of course, the latter two are the towering figures of the Reformation, and so it is significant that both Luther and Calvin are clear that “the least” are Christians (pp. Poverty is neither holy nor unholy in itself and it does not, of itself, convey the status of being “my brothers and sisters”. Very interesting blog post. Thank you so much Ian, for a thoughtful explanation of a section of Matthew’s gospel I have often found very difficult! Instead of seeing that these are parables about salvation, they see them as parables about rewards or loss of rewards. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. At least one aspect of this parable can be known with absolute certainty. “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. Take back therefore your own coldness, your own contemptuous distance: Ye bid Me away from your presence, and now I bid you from Mine–Depart from Me, ye cursed!”, Although on a Bible interpretation level this is important, on a pastoral teaching level I would be reluctant to lean too heavily on the distinction as the fact is, whether it’s brethren or the poor, a) we should be giving to both, just motivated by different verses Let’s celebrate together! 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. It is through the inequalities that capital, invention and innovation are able to be put into action and propagated. Nor can we defend the violent against themseves. No one is suggesting that the poor etc, should not be helped , the poor “will always be with you” , certainly not Ian Paul, nor DA Carson; there are others scriptures for that, but it is as Ian says about scripture being squeezed out of shape. It’s about receptivity to Christian messengers in ch.10. Sheep and goats are able to breed but often produce still-borne young. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’, 44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’, 45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’, 46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”. He gave them five, two, and one talent-bags of … Jesus knew that only the father had all the details, but he wanted his friends to have just a glimpse and so he started to tell many parables to try and give them some ideas. As Dick France points out in his commentaries (NIC and TNTC), Matthew never records Jesus referring to his ‘brothers’ or sisters as anyone other than those who do the will of God by becoming his followers. However I am not convinced: this is the culmination of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew, the final section of the final section and there is a grand inclusio back to the blessed poor of the Beatitudes at the very beginning of the first teaching section. I think Jesus’ own actions suggest that the alien, the orphan and the widow trajectory of the torah is how Jesus speaks of the poor. This no longer applies, since all sorts of people do shopping, and fruit now comes in separate bags—but it illustrates the point. The idea of receiving and treating a king’s ambassadors as the king himself is actually very common in the ancient world. LOL. We should be satisfied that we know the explanation, and hopeful that there will come a time when there will be no more tears. I was in prison, and you visited me.’, 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? I have no doubts that being known as a follower of Jesus was (and still is in much of the world) a lot tougher than I know from my own experience now, but I am not necessarily persuaded that it would have been a universal enough experience for Jesus to use this list of deprivations as a sort of synonym for being a disciple. This kind of structuring to Jesus’ teaching is common, especially in Matthew’s gospel, and it makes it very memorable. 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. The passage has striking similarities to the Sheep and Goats passage, and one feels that the writer (reportedly the Muslim Prophet) must have known about the Matthew passage. If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? Tweets at @psephizo. And on that day He would then separate the nations ” version unknown 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I have suggested a structure for the gospel and all of us are understanding the “texts” in light of the structure we have got, whatever the structure; these short texts are not just stand alone snippets. This lesson is perfect for children’s church, Sunday School, or anytime you need a short kids sermon. I also think that the reading you offer is weaker rhetorically, as it ends the teaching on a fairly minimal note, and also on a focus which is not primarily that of what the Christian should do / how they should live, whereas the reading / structure I suggest is much stronger rhetorically. Let’s celebrate together! I can only assume that he was not alone in this among his contemporaries. Notice that the key qualifier in Matthew 10.42 is “monon eis onoma mathetou”. Thanks for this Ian, you have developed my thinking and helped for my preach this Sunday. The bridegroom is Jesus Christ, and this parable describes His return. Notice that the key qualifier is “monon eis onoma mathetou”. The Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) Christ begins this parable by introducing us to ten virgins in Matthew 25:1. In the disguise of these poor members of Mine I came soliciting your pity, but ye shut up your bowels of compassion from Me: I asked relief, but ye had none to give Me. Lord! Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took … But as a complement to that, we need to note that the judgement doesn’t just take place on the grounds of whether people like us and help us, or not. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! No sources cited, though. Why is the division of sheep and goats a suitable metaphor for judgement here, and what does Jesus have against goats? (Acts 10:1–3 NIV-GK), “Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’. A rich man delegates the management of his wealth to his servants, much as investors in today’s markets do. All I am pointing out is that, whilst Jesus says a lot about that elsewhere, he is not talking about that here. But then you build on this and say Jesus was effectively talking about the disciples’ message – with nothing at all in the text to support that. In the end, nations/peoples are made up of individuals. This section of Scripture, including the Parable of the Talents, constitutes final warnings, prophecies, and encouragements to His people Israel prior to His departure. [g] 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. In other words, the focus is not on the different types of animals, but on the process of separation. If you have valued this post, you can make a single or repeat donation through PayPal: Comments policy: Good comments that engage with the content of the post, and share in respectful debate, can add real value. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. I’d suggest that there are plenty of people in. Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truths by means of earthly situations. At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’. but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. I think you are right to say that the hardest point of Ian’s interpretation is where he implies ‘that by good works to “these brothers” Jesus really means acceptance of them and therefore their message’. Come out and meet him!’. If that is the most important issue facing me at final judgement, then it seems to me that Jesus is choosing a very obscure way of communicating this issue in Matt 25. Matthew 25:1-13 is the parable of the Ten Virgins. For the modern weapons to be making it worse, we ought to see the numbers being different, I think. Those that were pro-Israel enter the earthly kingdom. Like my page on Facebook. The early church provided for Christian widows. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. Main Passage : Matthew 25:1-13 —————————————-Jesus’s friends asked what the end of time would be like. However, even granting this possibility, it still seems to me that Jesus is basing final reward and condemnation based on acts of kindness to the disciples. We cannot give all the world the lifestyles we enjoy. The transgender treatment of young people, Jesus wasn’t born in a stable—and that makes all the difference. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. Gathering all the nations means everyone is gathered (and of course it fits with distinct prophecies so we know the passage refers to final judgment without that being said explicitly.). First, he is the ‘Son of Man’, Jesus’ favourite self-description in the gospels, and a term primarily taken from Dan 7.13, where it refers to the vulnerable corporate figure of Israel, exalted to God in the face of the trampling beasts of the earlier part of the vision. 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