< Daily Reflections July 14
Sat. Jul. 15, 2017 07:53 Age: 33 days

Category: General
By: Paul Carter

Who Are the Least of These (and Why Does It Matter?)


Any passage that ends with some people being gathered into heaven and other people being cast into hell deserves serious attention. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus divides all the people of the earth into two camps; one on his right and one on his left:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:34–40 ESV)

The key phrase for interpreting this text is found in verse 40.  The King, who represents Jesus in this parable, says to the sheep: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40 ESV)

Given the stakes in this parable, it is hard to imagine anything more important than correctly identifying these people. Who are the least of these my brothers?

It may be helpful to begin by eliminating two obviously false options. Keep reading...


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