The Sheep and the Goats 31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
So what is the point of this passage?
It appears that we will be judged on the interactions that we have here on earth...there is a qualitative difference which appears to be applied. The sheep are the good guys and the goats...are well the goats.
The difference is how we have treated the least of these brothers..."'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Sheep are engaged in support of the whole of the brothers...and goats are concerned only with themselves.
There are rewards that will be given out at the judgement seat of Christ. Rewards for those who have engaged in the activity of helping the brothers and then judgement for those who have not.
This has connection with the whole conversation between works vs. faith...the major idea and is the ultimate place where we will find out if we got it right. Our faith...should motivate us to help those who are in need...the least of these brothers. It is the expression of what is happening within...
The qualitative distinction between sheep and goats rest on relationship and on the expression of that internal relationship.
7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
Grace experienced needs to be grace express through us. So do we only help the household of faith?
Hard questions...it almost brings us back full circle to Cain and Able. Am I my brother's keeper? the implication is that we are indeed our brother's keeper...that the family is extensive...not just those who have made a decision to follow Christ but also those who may in the future make that decision...
In so many ways heaven and eternity is a return to Eden to the garden where God walked with man...where there was meaningful work to be done... and yet an Eden where innocence is re-established.