One of the teachings of Jesus, after He entered Jerusalem, was about judgment day. In that time God will “separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” You can read this teaching in Matthew 25:31 to 46.
Upon reading it, one has the impression that Jesus hated goats and only prefers the sheep. But upon a closer look, you will see that Jesus only likened the process of separating those who accept Him or reject Him to the meticulous process that the shepherd is doing to the sheep and the goat. A shepherd during the time of Jesus has to protect his herd. If there are many male goats, then chances are that the shepherd will not be provided enough milk. If there are more goats than the sheep, then chances are that the sheep will suffer because the goats are a more voracious eater than the sheep. So this is what Jesus meant by judgment day. Jesus never hated goats!
Judgment Day, as described by Jesus, is a day of many surprises. As one pastor once said, “You might be surprised that those who you expected to enter heaven will not be able to, those that you do not expect to enter, will be able to enter, and worst, you cannot enter.” This simply means that it is in God’s hands, and not ours. All that we need to do is to follow what God says in the Bible.
What did Jesus say that we should do? These verses are very appropriate in what is happening around us now. The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has shown how generous people can become, and it has also sadly shown how people can still be corrupt even in the midst of a crisis.
Jesus said that the righteous are those who do the following:
First, those who give me something to eat to the hungry.
Second, those who give something to drink to the thirsty.
Third, those who invite people into their homes though they are strangers.
Fourth, those who give clothes to the needy.
Fifth, those who look after the sick.
Sixth, those who come to visit the prisoners.
Jesus was very clear here. He said that those who do not turn their faith into righteous actions will hear these words — “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
These people will also make a protest. They will say “When? We did not know!” But the protest will come to no avail someday.
Jesus has already told the when and the how. Let us take this into our hearts. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
May we be found righteous by God!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on