Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Christ for Mercy...Day 21

Preach Deliverance to the Captives
“Truly I say to you, as you did to one of the least of thesemy brothers,
you did it to me” ~ Matthew 25:40
Rev. Gary Tillman, St. John, Ashipun, Wis

We live in a world that separates. Good guys-bad guys, lectern side-pulpit side, Vikings-Packers, Democrat-Republican-Independent. You get the picture! We like to put people into a specific box.

In our reading for today, we hear the Lord Jesus doing a little separating of his own: sheep to the right; goats to the left. These are two totally different kinds of people; believers and non-believers.

Jesus does notwant tomake this distinction.Hewants all people to be saved and live with himforever.However, some people do not want Jesus to be their Lord, so Jesus gives them what theywant; life without him, a life as a stubborn, unforgiven old goat.They will receive the consequences of rejecting Jesus: “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew7:23).Theywill be thrown into hell.The goats get what they want, a placewhere theywon’t be “bothered” by God. As Jesus is talking to the sheep, he tells them about a reward they were going to receive. They were going to receive this gift of eternal paradise by the way they responded to the needs of people. The sheep, in their humbleness, were totally unaware that whenever they helped someone in their time of need, they
were serving the Lord of the universe. (Think of it! Jesus puts his face on those we serve.)

The sheep were doing what comes naturally for them to do. They were bearing the fruit of their faith. As Luther says, you don’t have to tell an apple tree to grow apples, it just does it. The sheep were bearing the image of their Jesus. People would see Jesus through their work of charity and love for the people God loves.

We reflect the mercy our Jesus has for us (his suffering, death and resurrection) to those around us. You might say that Jesus is the light of the world and we are little mirrors, reflecting his compassion to those we see in need!

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