“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”

The least of our brothers (and sisters) need our care. In Matthew 25: 31-46, God commands it.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

There is no clearer call in the Gospels for caring for others, especially for the needy and the disenfrancised, than this passage. The hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the ill, the imprisoned. Jesus named them out, one by one, and said we must care for them and what will happen to us if we do not. Ignore or neglect the people in this passage at your peril. Come up with your excuses for not taking care of them now, but come judgment day, they will come to nothing, according to Jesus the Christ.

Man is ingenious for his ways to rationalize away this call to action by God. But God has an infinite memory. “What you do not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me,” He warns. And then Jesus foretells of those who do not pay attention to His warning, “These will go off to eternal punishment.” Those who do, He says, “The righteous to eternal life.” Note His use of the word “righteous” here. Not the pious and self-righteous. He calls those who care for other “the righteous.”

Write your government representatives who call themselves Christians of this passage of Matthew. Remind your family members, friends, and neighbors. Embrace God’s love of the least among us and His command to serve them. Whatever you do for these least of our brothers, you did for God. And whatever you did not do for them, you did not do for God. That’s a pretty clear command and contrast.

 

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