Matthew 25:31-46 is an apt passage for the last Sunday of the church calendar – also known as “Sunday of Solemnity of Christ the King” or “Sunday of the Reign of Christ”. In verse 31 Jesus tells his disciples that the Son of man will come in his glory, and that He will sit on his wondrous throne. This is clearly about the King. Therefore it is appropriate that we should ask on this Sunday what this passage teaches us about Jesus the King. There are numerous answers to this question. I will single out three of these answers.
What we first learn about Jesus the King is that He will be the one to judge. Judgment belongs to Jesus when He will gather all nations before his glorious throne. This is our comfort when we experience life as hungry and thirsty, when we suffer as strangers or when we are in prison. This truth also cautions us when we elevate ourselves as if we were the ones sitting on the throne of judgment.
The second aspect about Jesus the King that I find in this passage is that He expects his followers to continue with his ministry. While Jesus the King was amongst us He reached out to those on the periphery of society. Therefore He expects his followers to do likewise – to feed the hungry, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, etcetera.
Thirdly this passage tells us where we will find the presence of Jesus the King today. In this period of time before He will sit on his throne of judgment, we will find Jesus amongst the hungry, the strangers, the naked, the sick and the prisoners. In verses 40 and 45 it becomes clear that the King identifies Himself with “the least of these” (RSV). Therefore He equates deeds of help and care to the least as deeds that are done to Jesus Himself.
To think about (or discuss): Does this passage of Mat 25:31-46 challenge you/us to do things differently or do something different in this time of HIV and Aids?