God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8 - Matthew 25: The Sheep or the Goats - Who Set Things Right?

Today’s Reading: Matthew 25

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

The criteria for being a sheep or goat was not worship style, theology, or amount of times you attended worship. It was whether you set things right or not.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus spoke in parables:
"God's Kingdom is like ten virgins waiting for a wedding feast. Five left to buy oil. They were left out of the wedding feast. Stay alert, I may arrive at any time.
"A man went on a long trip and gave money for each servant to invest. Two servants doubled their money and were blessed. The third hid it and was punished for not taking chances.
"When He comes, everyone will be separated between sheep, those rewarded for setting things right for the ignored and overlooked, and goats, those punished for not setting things right."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The parable of the virgins reminds us to stay vigilant in preparing for His Return.

The foolish virgins ran out of oil because they did not think it would take so long for the groom to come. When it finally happened, they were unprepared and left out of the feast. We must continuously set things right until in preparation for Jesus' Return.

The "play-it-safe" servant was punished for not taking chances.

Once again I love how Eugene Peterson paraphrased this section,
That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this 'play-it-safe' who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness. (vv. 26-30, The Message)
The servant wasn't punished for not doubling his money. The servant was punished for not risking anything. When we fail to risk anything to set things right, we risk losing our place in God's Kingdom.

The sheep and goats separated those who set things right and those who did not.

This concept was challenging to the Jews at the time. They were different than the "pagans" because God chose them. They worshiped God at the right place, unlike the Samaritans. When Jesus told them that the sheep and goats were separated because they gave food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, beds to the homeless, clothes to the naked, and comfort to the sick or imprisoned, the Jews would have been furious—what about sacrifices? Jesus would have challenged them to consider that God wanted mercy, not sacrifice.
Reading through the Bible this year with the new definition of the Gospel as "God is setting all things right", this parable takes on a new, deeper meaning. Yes, Jesus was religious. Yes, Jesus wanted His Disciples to worship. However, these acts were meant to help center them on setting things right among those within their sphere of influence. The sheep and the goats were not separated based on worship or theology. They were separated based on acts. We will be judged on whether we set things right with those who were ignored or overlooked.

Do you set things right with those who are ignored and overlooked or do you want to worship correctly?

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