In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus is teaching about the kingdom of God. He tells two parables.
The first is about the idea that we have to keep watch, because we don’t know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return.
The second parable paints a picture of stewardship, and that God has given us some resources while we’re on earth that He wants us to do something with.
After telling these parables, He speaks more candidly about the Kingdom:
“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 creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:34-40 NLT)
Jesus is telling us what he values: people. He’s suggesting that the way we treat those who are in need, strangers to us, or in pain is in fact how we treat Him.
While the two parables before this describe primarily our relationship with Him in how we wait for His return and in how we steward our time on earth, we learn from Jesus here that He is also concerned with our relationships with those around us.
It’s important that we wrestle with that. Who are the poor and hurting around us? How are we treating them like Kings?
Jesus says this about His Kingdom in Matthew 20: “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” We’re called to bring that Kingdom to our neighborhoods.