“Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’
Lord, Lord. On three occasions, Jesus spoke about people who would cry out “Lord, Lord” yet not be received into his kingdom (Matt: 7-21-22, 25:11, Luke 6:46). On each occasion he was talking about people who did not know him (see next verse).
Further reading: “What about those who cry ‘Lord, Lord’?”
“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
The Good Shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:27); these aren’t his sheep.
“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.
After a long time.. In his eschatological parables Jesus told stories of masters, noblemen, and bridegrooms being gone “a long time” (Matt. 24:48, 25:5, 25:19). Since Jesus has been gone a long time, he exhorts us to “be like servants waiting for their master” (Luke 12:36). The need to wait is echoed by the epistle writers. “Wait eagerly for our adoption as sons” (Rom 8:23); “We hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Rom 8:25); “We eagerly await a Savior” (Php 3:20); “Be patient brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits…” (Jas. 5:7); “Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:21).
We are to wait patiently and eagerly for the Lord’s return. We are to be watchful and ready, but we are not to put life on hold. Plant trees and raise families, and do whatever God put you on this earth to do. Invest, build, dig deep and go long. Let your light shine so others may praise your Father in heaven.
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
The angels with him. At least five different comings of the Son of Man are mentioned by Matthew (see entry for Matt. 16:28). Whenever the Son of Man is coming with his angels, it is a reference to his final and glorious return to earth (Mark 8:38).
and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
(a) The sheep are those who believe in Jesus (see John 10:26). The Good Shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:27). We are not his sheep because we go to church and act like Jesus. We are his sheep if we have been born of the Spirit. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him” (Rom. 8:9).
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
(a) The King. This was one of those rare occasions where Jesus referred to himself as a king. See also Matt. 21:5.
(b) My Father; see entry for Matt. 5:16.
(c) Inherit. The sheep are blessed by the Father, not their works. See entry for Inheritance.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
(a) Something to eat. Some interpret Christ’s words as a recipe for works-salvation. “If I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, I’ll earn my salvation.” The sheep and goats are not separated on the basis of works but identity. The sheep go one way and the goats go another. They inherit a kingdom, they don’t earn it (see previous verse).
(b) You came to me. To serve a Christian is to serve Christ himself. See entry for Matt. 25:40.
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
The righteous are those who have been made right with God by receiving, through faith, the free gift of righteousness. See entry for Righteousness.
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
(a) The King is Jesus.
(b) These brothers of mine. Jesus is not describing acts of Christian service but acts of service done to Christians. “Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ” (Mark 9:41).
(c) You did it to me. To serve a Christian is to serve Christ himself.
When Saul persecuted the Christians, Jesus said “You are persecuting me” (Acts 9:5). Acts of harm done to Christians were reckoned by Christ as though they were done to him. In the same way acts of kindness done to Christians because they are Christians are reckoned by Christ as though they were done to him. See also the entry for Matt 10:42.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
The eternal fire. On Judgment Day, when the Lord is revealed from heaven in blazing fire, the ungodly and all those things that are opposed to his goodwill will be destroyed by fire (2 Th. 1:7, 2 Pet. 2:6, 3:7).
On numerous occasions, the Lord spoke of fire in connection with Judgment Day (Matt. 5:22, 13:42, 50, 18:9, 25:41, Mark 9:43, Luke 17:29–30, John 15:6). He did not dread this fire but he looked forward to it knowing that it would spell the end of sin and usher in eternity (see entry for Luke 12:49).
“These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
(a) Eternal punishment from which there never shall be any return. In the most-quoted scripture in the Bible, Jesus said there are only two ultimate outcomes: for those who believe in him, eternal life, and for those who don’t death (John 3:16). The one who does not have the Son of God has no eternal life (1 John 5:12), while the one who puts their faith in Christ passes over from death to new and everlasting life (John 5:24, 1 John 3:14). Eternal punishment is elsewhere described by Jesus the second death (see entry for Rev. 2:11).
(b) The righteous are those who have been made right with God by receiving, through faith, the free gift of righteousness.
You have been made righteous with a divine righteousness that endures forever (2 Cor. 9:9). One with the Lord, his future is your future. See entry for Righteousness.
(c) Eternal life. Once upon a time you were dead in sins and separated from the zoe-life of God (see entry for Eph. 2:1). But the moment you put your faith in Christ you crossed over from death to life (John 5:24). Whoever believes in Christ has eternal life and shall not perish (John 3:15-16).
Further reading: “The sheep and the goats”
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- Matthew 25:11
- Matthew 25:12
- Matthew 25:19
- Matthew 25:31
- Matthew 25:33
- Matthew 25:34
- Matthew 25:35
- Matthew 25:37
- Matthew 25:40
- Matthew 25:41
- Matthew 25:46