Gospel News · January - April 2015

us. To turn away from them in irritation, to
put up barriers against them for their weak-
ness whereby we resign our obligation to care
for them… is to run the risk of condemnation-
according to the parable.
The Lord’s Response to Us
He responds to us then, at judgment day, as
we responded to the needs of His brethren
today. Let’s go through the list again:
Took Me in - The same word translated “gath-
ered” in :32. As they gathered Him, so He
now gathers the wheat into His eternal barn.
Clothed Me - As the believers clothed Him, so
He will clothe them (Rev. 3:5; 7:9; 19:8;
being clothed upon with immortality is
definitely a picture of salvation). He will act
spiritually to us, in terms of salvation, as we
have acted materially to His brethren as they
in their lives, as the body of Christ, experi-
ence various aspects of His life, sufferings
and death.
Visited Me - The idea is not really to pop
around to someone's house or hospital ward.
The idea really is of identity, with a view to
salvation. Thus God visited us in Christ to
save us (Lk. 1:68,78; 7:16 “God has visited
His people”; Acts 15:14 God “visited the
Gentiles to take out a people”; Heb. 2:6
“what is man that You visit him”). This is the
‘visiting’ in view. As He ultimately ‘visits’ us
to save, crossing the huge distance between
God and man to do so, likewise we are to
‘visit’ our brethren. Again, what we do mate-
rially for those in Christ is a reflection of
what He spiritually does for us. This is to be
the motivation; to perceive that their
poverty, their imprisonment, all of which may
be their fault, is a reflection of our spiritual
need and poverty, as we, like them, miss
chance after chance to pull ourselves out of
our poverty, and fall down too easily into
survival and coping mechanisms that bind us
to our poverty.
In prison - Prison is a metaphor for where sin
and spiritual debt leads us. We are all hope-
lessly in spiritual debt and therefore in the
debtors’ prison (Mt. 18:30). He comes to us in
our self-inflicted model to save us.
A Shock for All
The parable implies the day of judgment will
be such a surprise. Both righteous and wicked
will find that they are respectively
commended and criticized for things which
surprise them. Both groups will almost argue
with the Lord Jesus that He hasn’t made the
right decision concerning them. It’s only a
highly convicted man who would dare do
that. Their shock is because they utterly
failed to appreciate the extent to which
Jesus was manifested in their brethren- espe-
cially in the least of them. “When did we see
you?” is the response of both wise and
foolish. “See”, eido, means effectively ‘to
know’. The Lord has just used the same word
in warning that He will have to tell the
foolish virgins “I know you not” (:12). Here
He explains that this is in fact because they
knew Him not, in that they didn’t recognize
His brethren. To not recognize His brethren
means that He will not recognize us.
We need to observe that the goats are
rejected not so much for their lack of
actions, but for failing to discern Christ in the
least of His brethren. Then, the rejected will
finally see their good works in context. They
will realize how little works really meant.
The faithful already knew that - for they
objected when the Lord told them all the
good things they had done. The list of works
in Mt. 25:35,36 include the following: giving
food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, a
bed to the homeless, help to the sick. Yet
these are the very things which Job claims he
had done, when he clears himself from all his
accusers (Job 31:17-20). They will confi-
dently deny it when Jesus points it all out to
them. They served with no expectation of
reward; so much so that they even forgot
what they did. Giving without any thought of
getting anything back is a must for all of us
who seek to truly manifest God: for this is
Editorial | Meeting the Crucified Christ
~ continued ...