Matthew 25:31-46 An Unconscious Test

by | Dec 19, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

Jesus is hours away from being tortured and crucified.
The crowds are about to turn against Him, & in a few hours He will not look like a King of Glory.
But Jesus sees beyond the cross and the tomb.
He sees beyond the centuries of wars, plagues, and people denying Him.
He sees unto the end of the age, when there will be no doubt that He is the King of Glory.
Jesus drops the use of parables, and gives a straight ahead narrative.

I. The Setting

A. When Jesus Comes In Glory

1. This takes place at the end of the Tribulation period.
2. The Rapture has long since happened
3. In His glory-
4. The holy angels with Him-
5. Throne of glory-

B. The Nations Gathered Before Him

1. Nations-ethnos

a. Literally, all ethnicities of people, all people groups.
b. Not national governments.

2. Individuals are gathered to be separated and judged.

II. The Judgment

A. Final & Permanent

1. Not a time when one can change their mind.
2. For those who will experience death: it is in this life that we choose or reject Jesus
Hebrews 9:27 …it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment
3.For those living at the end of the Tribulation period:

a. They have lived through years of seeing God’s wrath upon Earth
b. They have consciously rejected God throughout this time of judgment
c. Revelation 6:15-17 15And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

4. When this judgment takes place, people will not have the opportunity to change their minds about Jesus.

a. Either they will have died rejecting Jesus, or…
b. They will have lived through this time period rejecting Jesus.

5. Read vs. 34, 41– Jesus does not allow discussion or explanation.

a. No one is tested as to what their creed or belief system was.
b. There is no questioning of motives or performance.
c. No one is asked to explain anything or plead their case.
d. People have already either rejected or accepted Jesus.
e. Heaven is not deciding guilt or innocence at this point. The verdicts are in.
f. Innocence or guilt is now announced. Judgment is given.
g. Stedman– Jesus will “…sit as the unchallenged Judge over all men.”

6. For the righteous Sheep- Everlasting life & blessing in the Kingdom of God.
7. For the unrighteous Goats- Everlasting punishment.

B. Those In The Judgment

1. Sheep and goats. Notice– Jesus does not say sheep and wolves.
2. The context of Jesus’ teachings in chapters 24 & 25 has been the distinguishing between the false Christian and true Christian.
3. Note- Consider the contextual teachings that Jesus has been giving:

a. Faithful & Evil Servant (Matthew 24:45-51)
b. Wise & Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
c. Faithful & Wicked Servants (Parable of the Talents) (Matthew 25:14-30)

C. The Surprise Of The Sheep Vs. 37-39

1. The righteous sheep are surprised at the commendation of Jesus.
2. They had lived their lives surrendered to Jesus.
3. They may have thought they would be accepted based only on their faith
4. They may have thought that their actions wouldn’t even be mentioned.
5. Their actions were simply a result of their faith.
6. They were moved in their hearts to help the last, the least, and the lost.
7. They never realized that they were, in a sense, ministering to Jesus Himself.

D. The Surprise Of The Goats V. 44

1. The goats had neglected to do the things that the sheep had done.
2. What is more telling is their response to Jesus. “When did we see You…?”
3. It almost sounds like they would have helped if they had known that it was Jesus.

a. He would have been worthy of their time.
b. The least, the last and the lost were not worthy of their time.

4. If, in their evaluation of the situation, they would have thought the need was worthy of their effort, then they would have helped.
5. Their evaluation of the situation didn’t match up with Jesus’ evaluation.
6. They did not have the hearts of Jesus, b/c they didn’t have Jesus.

III. What Is The Basis For Judgment?

A. Works Or Faith?

1. In this narrative, Jesus is pointing to their works.
a. Their works showed who they really were.
b. Their lack of works showed them to be unrighteous.

2. Parable of the Faithful & Evil Servant- Living or not living for the Master’s return
3. Wise & Foolish Virgins-The Bridegroom “didn’t know” the foolish virgins
4. Parable of the Talents- The wicked servant didn’t really know the Master
5. Sheep & Goats- The goats never “saw” Jesus as they passed through life.
6. These passages teach that the guilty & condemned had no relationship with Jesus

B. Salvation Is Based Upon Faith, Which Will Produce Good Works

1. Romans 3:10-31 Justification by faith alone.
2. James 2:14-26 True faith will produce righteous works.
Pseudo faith produces no works of faith
3. John 17:1-5 Eternal life comes from knowing (ginosko) Jesus.
Ginosko- to know by experience, be acquainted with.