Second Last Sunday 2022 (Mt 25, 31–46)

Photo by Rai Singh Uriarte on Unsplash

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᛭ INI ᛭

(5. Oops!: You’ve done Jesus wrong ἐν τοῖς ἐλαχίστοις καὶ τοῖς ἐσχατοῖς in your life.)

You’ve done Jesus wrong. You’ve failed Him. The sins you do daily and much are against Him. You have not done right by Him. Do you have His approval for what you do? For how you treat those in your daily life?

That’s where and how you’ve done Jesus wrong. You’ve done Him wrong in the people in your life. And not just anyone in your life, though that’s true. You’ve done Jesus wrong in “the least” people in your life, “the last” people in your life.

You’ve done Jesus wrong not necessarily by how you treat the people that are high on your list. It’s all a matter of the last, the least, those that don’t make our list, or we strike from our list. The people that don’t matter to us. The people we think are worse than us, that don’t deserve anything from us. So they get nothing from us except a smile to their faces.

The Lord doesn’t approve of such behavior. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Your neighbor is whoever is in front of you, not who you think should be on the “neighbor list.” “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

(4. Ugh!: The same Jesus will come ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ δικαιεῖν.)

The wrong you’ve done to Jesus in your neighbor isn’t just a daily problem. It makes a problem for the Last Day, too. Because it’s the same Jesus, the Jesus you’ve wronged in your neighbor, it’s that Jesus who will come “ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ” “κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.”

You’ve wronged the Judge! How will you have His approval now? How will you have His approval then? What sort of hope can you have when you “are gathered before Him”? What sort of peace and confidence can you have about judgment day?

Excuses won’t be allowed. That’s what the goats try, but more on that in a minute. Excuses abound for our behavior. “You don’t understand the circumstances.” “You don’t know what they did to me!” “You see, I was just having a bad day.” “I didn’t mean for it to happen.”

I’ll emphasize it again, because all our excuses are based on the fact that we still think we’ve just wronged the person we can see with our eyes, and not the Jesus we can’t see but is there. You didn’t gossip about your neighbor, but about Jesus who is hiding in your neighbor. You weren’t merciful and kind to Jesus. You held a grudge with Jesus. You didn’t offer help and support to Jesus. “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

Now, you might be wondering, “What about when Jesus talks to the sheep? You’ve just been quoting what Jesus will say to the goats.” It’s true. But that only makes your situation worse. The sheep always it seems did good to their neighbors. They stand approved. The goats never did. They stand unapproved. So which are you based on that standard? There’s no the sheep were sometimes good or the goats sometimes bad. You’re one or the other. Stop trying to game the system to win Jesus’ approval! (Or force other people to win His approval…and yours!)

(3. Aha!: It’s all a matter of what each—Jesus, the sheep, and the goats—declares about τὴν δικαιώσιν (justificationem).)

There has to be something else going on in the Parable than just what the sheep do and what the goats do, tough that takes up the lion’s share of the parable. It actually has to do with what each party says. It’s all a matter of what Jesus, the Son of Man, what the sheep, and what the goats declare about the judgment. What’s said about the justification, the vindication, the approval of the sheep, and what’s said about the condemnation, the conviction, the disapproval of the goats is what’s really important to pay attention to in this parable. The most important thing to pay attention to is, obviously, what the Son of Man Himself says about both the sheep and the goats.

(2. Whee!: According to Jesus, the righteous are vindicated, the unrighteous are condemned.)

So, what’s said? Well, the righteous are vindicated, declared innocent. The unrighteous are condemned, declared guilty. That comes first. That is primary. The second thing that’s said is the evidence is presented by the Judge. The evidence is based on their vindication or their condemnation. That’s how it makes sense that there is no evil to speak of when it comes to the sheep. That’s why there’s no good to speak of when it comes to the goats.

The Judge declares, Jesus declares, that His sheep are “blessed by My Father.” They are to “inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.” They are declared innocent, the sheep are forgiven all their sins. That’s what Jesus does for His sheep. He forgives them. He delivers His forgiveness to them, and His sheep “hear His voice,” they “believe His Holy Word.” Thus forgiven, thus made holy they “lead godly lives.”

The reason the sheep have no evil is because all their evil has been washed away in the blood of Jesus. He died for them. He made them His holy sheep. That is what Jesus does His Sheep. Does for you. Jesus sheep believe what Jesus does for them. They place no confidence in what they do before the Judge. The sheep, those with faith in Jesus, confess with St. Paul: “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” This is why the sheep are confused by Jesus’ judgment.

Not so the goats. They are condemned. They are not forgiven, and because they have not received the forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus, they only have evil. They are “accursed.” It’s not that Jesus didn’t die for them, didn’t shed His blood for them. They go to the fire “prepared for the devil and his angels.” Jesus didn’t intend it for them, but that’s what they get because they didn’t believe in Jesus.

They put trust in their own merits. They had no need for a Savior. They reject God’s approval in Christ, the forgiveness of their sins. They seek the approval of man so they can have pride in their sins. Sadly, this is what took place at MHS this past week. It’s institutional rejection of God’s forgiveness in Christ Jesus. It’s institutional suppressing God’s truth by their unrighteousness, of rejecting “God’s righteous decree,” of giving “approval to those who practice” sin worthy of death. (As Paul says in Romans 1.)

All of this is why why the goats, too, are confused by the list. They’re basically saying, “What do you mean we didn’t do anything good?” Absent Christ and His forgiveness there is no good! “Without faith it is impossible to please” God, Hebrews says.

(1. Yeah!: There is no reason to fear the Judgment for THE ONE WHO JUDGES WAS THE ONE JUDGED FOR YOU.)

You’ve done Jesus wrong. Against the people in your life, you have. He comes to judge. But dear saints of God, dear sheep of the Good Shepherd, there is no reason to fear the Judgment for


He died for your sins. He earned forgiveness for you. Only His Word counts for anything. His judgment, His justifying you, is everything! His blood shed. His death. His mercy. His forgiveness. He showers it upon you. In Holy Baptism. In Absolution. In the Bible. In your devotions. In Gospel Sermons. In the Supper of His body and blood.


In each and everyone of His Gifts, His Word and Sacrament, He is delivering to His judgment. Each uniquely delivers the Last Day judgment right to you.


and He says in His Word and Gifts and at the Last Day,

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

᛭ INI ᛭

Total Words:    1420
Outline Words:92
Final Words:    1328

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