Thoughts on Matthew 25:31-46
Elfed Godding: 29.01.21
When Jesus presented a picture of the day of judgement to his disciples his focus was not on who is in the church but rather on who bears the fruit of a Kingdom-seeker. Matthew 28:19-20 makes it clear that we are to preach, baptise and make disciples. This is our mission. And disciples will gather with Christ in their midst, Matthew 18:20. This is church.
But church is here to repair, redeem and transform the world, not to hide from it! Through the Gospel we call the world away from sin but we also address the disease that sin has caused; the hungry v35, the poor, the sick and the estranged v36.
If we are tempted to write this off as ‘social work’ rather that ‘Gospel ministry’ then Jesus shocks us by declaring that he is there in the suffering people he describes v40. He is there is in the circumstances of life where the reign of God is not visible.
So here we have the ultimate template of mission: God’s people called and gathered with Christ in our midst (church) and at the same time Christ calling us into his world where he invites us to be agents of his transforming grace.
There is no ‘churchless’ Christianity. We are his church, variously described as God’s family ‘members of God’s household’ Ephesians 2:19, God’s temple ‘joined together and rising to become a holy temple’ Ephesians 2:21 and the body of Christ ‘Now you are the body of Christ’ 1Corinthians 12:27.
We gather together to worship and witness to Jesus Christ but gathered we dare not stay. Monday morning as the sun rises we are a missionary people heading for the schools, shops, factories, offices, hospitals, laboratories and neighbourhoods where we work (when we are not in lockdown!). These and others are the places where God is building his Kingdom and we are invited to participate.
Take a moment to pause and think about your home and work environment (if you are working); how we can be a shining light to reveal the presence and voice of Jesus in our surroundings?
Let’s conclude by reading the following words of Jesus and praying for an opportunity this week to talk to a friend, neighbour or colleague about Jesus:
‘You are the light of the world. A City set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise you father in heaven’ Matthew 5:14-16.
And let’s pray for neighbours, friends, family or colleagues to encounter Jesus : ‘Lord please open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in you Lord’. Amen (Acts 26:18)