The Scriptorium

The Wise Sheep

By their fruit Jesus knows them. Matthew 25.31-40

Matthew 25: Wise and Foolish (5)

Pray Psalm 24.9, 10.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Sing Psalm 24.9, 10.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
O Who is this King, Who approaches our gate?
His might is before us, His glory is great!
This King is the Lord of all glory above,
Who comes to indwell us in mercy and love!

Read Matthew 25.1-40; Meditate on verses 31-40.

Prepare.
1. Why were the “sheep” wise and received by the Lord?

2. How can we show Jesus that we love Him?

Meditate.

Jesus directed the attention of His followers to the judgment that will occur after He returns. We note again that the focus is not on being ushered into some paradise of pleasures, but on being received by Jesus and blessed by our Father, and in these, knowing the Kingdom of God in all its fullness (vv. 33, 34).

When Jesus comes in glory, “all nations will be gathered before Him” (v. 32). Jesus is Lord of all nations – King of kings and Lord of lords. We don’t “make” Jesus Lord, or “let Him be the Lord” in our lives. He is Lord, now, universally, cosmically, over everyone and everything. Our calling in His Kingdom is to bring His Lordship to realization on earth as it is in heaven, by keeping our lamps lit and using our talents to increase His glory.

The wise sheep are easily seen as such. Jesus explains, just as He had said, that He would recognize them by their works (cf. Matt. 7.20). Sheep are as sheep do; wise people as wise people do. And wise people who are the Lord’s sheep emulate the example of the Lord in serving others (vv. 35, 36; cf. Phil. 2.5-11).

It may come as a surprise to the wise – who typically tend to be humble and self-effacing as well – that their good works to the poor, needy, naked, and imprisoned were actually done to Jesus Himself. But Jesus is in His people and with them in all situations. And when we love His people, we love Him. Because if we love Him – thus showing ourselves to be true sheep – we will love those He loves.

If you love Jesus, love His people. In loving them, you will love Him.

Reflect.
1. How can you begin to look at your life more with the eyes of a servant?

2. How is it that in serving the needy we serve Jesus?

3. Jesus is Lord over every aspect and area of your life. How will you acknowledge that Lordship today?

“Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ ” To what other blessedness could this blessedness be compared? To be blessed of the Father! Why were they counted worthy of such a great honor? “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” What honor! What blessedness!
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 79.2

Send me forth to serve others today, Jesus, especially as I…

Pray Psalm 24.1-8.
Jesus is Lord over all the earth, and all your life. Offer yourself to Him as a living sacrifice today (Rom. 12.1, 2), and pray about the many opportunities you will have for serving others.

Sing Psalm 24.1-8.
Psalm 24.1-8 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The earth is the Lord’s, as is all it contains;
the world and its peoples He daily sustains.
He founded it fast on the seas long ago,
and bid gentle rivers throughout it to flow.

Oh, who may ascend to the Lord’s holy place?
And who may appear to His glorious face?
All they who are clean in their hearts and their hands
and true in their souls with the Savior shall stand.

A blessing all they from the Lord shall receive
who seek Him and on His salvation believe.
For these are His people, the children of grace,
who earnestly, eagerly seek for His face.

O lift up your heads, all you gates of the soul,
for the Savior would enter and render you whole!
The Lord strong and mighty in battle draws nigh;
He rules in His glory above us on high.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore