Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 18, 2021

25:31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ’Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 ”Then he will say to those on his left, ’Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

– Matthew 25:31-46

This may seem a harsh and out-of-place biblical text for the weekend before Christmas week, as this passage is often labeled, “The Judgement of the Nations.” In this passage, we hear about the second coming of the Son of man, when He will sit on His glorious throne, separating His sheep from His goats; the sheep to the Kingdom of the Father as His blessed children, but the goats will go away into eternal punishment. A stark reality as we are pre-occupied with Advent-Christmas preparations full of joy, laughter and light.

And yet, we who have been saved by the blood of Jesus, by His grace as a gift, have no need to fear or cower under this biblical passage, for we have the hope and promise of salvation in and through Him. Because we have been saved, we need not fear judgement. Because we have been saved, then, we respond as Jesus encourages us to respond — by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and the imprisoned. These are the good works of those who have been saved by Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. As children of God, we are called to live and serve in this way. And we serve, not only in Advent-Christmas-time, but every day. The Church of Jesus Christ is a living, loving, active army of Christian soldiers, marching as to war, but truly, moving forward to serve and care for those in need — whether the sick, the lonely, the grieving, the hungry, the homeless.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we respond to Your love by caring for others, help us to see Your face in the faces of those we meet. Amen.

Advent Action: In a big or small way, care for someone who is hungry, sick, grieving or lonely.

Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel

Watch a video recording of the devotional daily: facebook.com/thenalc

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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