How are you? How is your week going? Have you considered the least of these since Sunday?
It’s such a simple story and lesson. Jesus will come back to judge the living and the dead. We confess this in the Apostles’ Creed. But according to Matthew 25, we see that part of the judgment is the way we treat the least of these. This is so important as it is the last teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew before the Passion narrative.
We are called to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, take care of the sick, and visit the prisoner. However, these works are not to be done to earn salvation. It is done as the fruit of salvation. They are not the pursuit of eternal life, but they are the product of it.
What marks your life? What is the fruit being grown? Is it marked by compassion and grace? Is it marked by showing mercy to the poor, the hurting, the helpless, the needy, and the least of these?
For whatever we do or do not do to them, we do or do not do to Jesus. We are called to treat them with the same love and care that we would treat Jesus. Are our lives marked with that kind of mercy?
This call truly humbles me. I believe it humbles us as a ministry as well. So what are we to do? How can we be obedient to the call of mercy?
We can be obedient through two ways. First, it’s to realize that we first are the least of these. We were the ones hungry and thirsty in our sin. We were the ones naked in our shame. We were the ones estranged from God. We were the ones sick with our guilt and imprisoned by our iniquities.
We were the least of these first, but Christ showed us mercy. He showed us mercy by giving us the Bread of Life, which is Himself. He gave us the Living Water, which is Himself. He gave us His robes of righteousness to cover our nakedness. He welcomed us, healed us, and freed us.
He did all of this through this cross. This is the second way we can show mercy. We realize that He showed mercy to us as the least of these, because Christ became the ultimate least of these on the cross. That is why he can relate to them in our passage.
He experienced ultimate hunger and thirst. He experienced ultimate nakedness, both physically and spiritually. He experienced ultimate estrangement from society and from God. He experienced ultimate sickness, bearing our sin and shame. He experienced ultimate imprisonment, as He took on hell for us on the cross.
When we start to understand and experience this truth, we start to understand and experience God’s heart and God’s mission. Then, we, as the people of God, will adopt the heart of God. We will have the character of God. We will display the glory of God as we show the mercy of God to a dying and broken world.
May we live out God’s call as God’s people in this way.
See you on Sunday for Lord’s Day Worship! Have a blessed rest of your week!
In Christ,
Pastor Tim
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