September 6

Text: Matthew 25:31, 32

"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;”  (NASB)

In this parable again Jesus emphasized that being prepared was essential because the return of “the Son of Man” was (is) certain—it absolutely would happen.  The certainty of the return was the basis of the parable—if there was no return, there was no purpose for the parable.  The parable was relevant to the disciples’ initial inquiry only if the return occurred.

THE question was this: “What should we expect when the return occurs?”  Perhaps that was merely another way to ask, “How should we prepare?”  If they knew what to expect, maybe that would contain clues about what to do to prepare.

Four things were declared about the return.  The first was that it would be obvious. The return would involve his glory, his entourage (all the angels), and his throne.  It would not be a hidden event but a high profile, obvious event.  The event was described as the first appearance of a king, a “big splash” event meant to be obvious as a definite statement of “who is in charge.”

The second was he truly would be the King of kings, the Lord of lords.  No one would doubt that he had no rivals, no challengers, and no equals.  He was obviously the victor, not one of the victors.  His superiority was beyond question, beyond doubt.   He was not superior for a period of time.  It was a continuing reality that would be timeless.  This was an eternal happening, not merely a physical event.

The third was that it was an international event.  All nations would be assembled before him.  Much more was involved than a reassembling of the scattered Israelites.  His kingdom would be much larger than ethnic realities.  “Who is in and out” would involve much more than ancestors or connections.

The fourth was the event would be based on a justice that involved everyone.  Here, this international justice was based on behavior.  No one would say, “I am an X person—therefore this does not apply to me.”  No matter who you were, your behavior decided if you were on the right or the left.  Identity was of no relevance; past behavior was critical.  That point would have been much more astounding then than now.  Justice being determined by behavior rather than by identity was not the way things worked then!  The way God sees justice and what we call justice differ!

Suggestion for reflection: How should justice work in every age and society?  (Read Jeremiah 22:1-5.)

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