Lent Devotional: Matthew 25:31-40
by Jonathan Haefs
Matthew 25:31-40 (click here)
“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)
The church is the body of Christ.
We make that statement fairly often… but do we play out all the implications? Matthew 25 holds forth one massive implication that is rarely considered.
Typically, we read this passage and believe that it is calling us to a general love and care for the poor, the hurting, and the outcasts of society. There are many, many Biblical passages that call us to that action… please don’t hear me as denying the truth that we are called to sacrificially love those that society marginalizes! However, this is not what Matthew 25:31-40 is about…
This is about the church… the body of Christ.
The final judgment is based solely on how one relates to Jesus Christ. Did you reject him or embrace him by faith? Is Jesus your greatest joy and treasure? Matthew 25 lays out the evidence of whether or not our heart has embraced Christ by faith… and what is the evidence?
It is whether or not we embrace the church in love.
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these MY BROTHERS, you did it to me.”
Jesus says that our treatment of his brothers and sisters, the church, is our treatment of him! After all… the church is the body of Christ! Do you clothe the body of Christ? Do you feed the body of Christ? Do you care for the body of Christ?
Our love for Christ is evidenced by our love for his body! Our rejection of Christ is evidenced by our rejection of his body!
I am by no means saying that our works toward the church save us, but that those works serve as evidence of whether or not I am saved! I can say I love Jesus all day long, but what is the evidence? It comes out in how I treat his body when it hurts, when it hungers, when it is exposed, when it is in need… it comes out in cruciform community!
1 John 4:20-21, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Do we love Jesus by loving his body… the church?