Chapter 24, verse 36 of the Gospel of Matthew may also be seen as the first of many implications that form the second half of the Olivet discourse. Here Jesus strung together a series of parables and metaphors to underline one central theme – believers must always be prepared for Christ’s return whenever it may occur.
Matthew 24:37-44 describes how it will catch many by surprise. Matthew 24:45-51 warns disciples not to assume Christ will stay any longer than He actually does. Matthew 25:1-13 warns them against assuming that He will return more quickly than He actually does.
Matthew 25:14-30 teaches proper behavior, however long that interval turns out to be – faithful stewardship of every resource with which we have been entrusted.
Whenever Christ comes back, He will judge all humanity, separating people into one of only two categories – sheep and goats, disciples who will be rewarded with eternal life and unbelievers who will be eternally separates from God. The criterion for determining who goes where is how a person has responded to ‘the least of these brothers of (Jesus).’
A popular, modern interpretation is that Jesus was attempting judgment on the basis of responses to the poor and needy of the world, whoever they are. But the more common view throughout the history of the church, which is supported by Matthew’s uniform usage of the words brothers and least or little ones elsewhere, is that Jesus’ brothers refer to fellow Christians. Those who welcome itinerant Christian missionaries by providing for their physical needs demonstrate that they have also accepted the Christian message.
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- Atlanta Bible Study Examiner, Donna Sundblad
- Kentucky Bible Study Examiner, Timothy Edwards
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
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