Wednesday of the Week of Lent II
[Jesus said,] “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at this right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 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, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’”…And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:31-36, 40)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Genesis 41:41–57; Psalm 55; Matthew 25:31–46
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2BPwFmP
This is a meaningful vision of the nature of the kingdom of God. The Son of man, Jesus, will return in glory. Upon his return, there will be a separation—a judgment. The King will take those who belong to him to himself, while others will be separated from him. This is surely a promise that there will be judgment, there will be a division of “sheep from goats,” debunking the claim that all will be saved, no matter what. That is not the vision Jesus presents in this passage.
What is beautiful, however, is the love, care and compassion Jesus’ followers show toward the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner. These are to be the actions of those who believe in Jesus and seek to be his disciples. We are to show care and compassion for anyone in need.
It’s unfortunate that those who may be biblically and theologically “conservative” are often accused of lacking compassion and love. For example, we uphold the biblical teachings about marriage between one man and one woman, purity and chastity outside of marriage, clarity about how God has created us male and female not because we are closed-minded or “old-fashioned,” but because we hold fast to the truth of God’s Word. Affirming the trustworthiness and reliability of God’s Word throughout time, without change under pressure from the prevailing cultural and societal attitudes and agendas, is actually a gift and blessing to culture and society. Helping children and youth to understand that God created them, intentionally, as male and female affirms them as they are, removes confusion and provides them with biblical boundaries and behavior that will lead them to healthy, godly lives. Our firm stand on biblical teaching grows out of our great love and care for all people in our world.
We are to love and care for those in need, for the sake of those in need—sometimes not realizing that we are, then, caring for Jesus as well—in the face and life of the stranger!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, send me with love and compassion to anyone in need. Amen.
Lenten Response: Make a gift of time or treasure to a ministry helping the needy.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.