Matthew 25 is the climax of Jesus’ final speech. Jesus paints an incredible word picture of the throne room of God. Everyone who ever lived is standing before Jesus for final judgment. It’s an awesome, terrifying thing to imagine.
What standard will Jesus use to make the ultimate judgment?
Did you feed, clothe, care for, or visit hurting people?
The criteria are as down-to-earth as the vision is grand
Jesus says that in the end there will be just two categories. You’re either blessed or cursed, depending on whether you took part in simple ministries of food, shelter, and visitation.
That’s it. That’s Jesus’ basis for dividing up people for eternity.
Surprising? Yes, but not in the way you probably think. Jesus goes on to say that everyone will be surprised on judgment day. The ones who are blessed will be surprised because they know they’re not worthy to stand before a Holy God. They know that nothing they could ever do could make them worthy.
But the ones destined for eternal fire are surprised too. “What do you mean we didn’t serve the hurting people?” they demand to know. Instead of throwing themselves on the mercy of a Holy God, begging for forgiveness, they’re indignant.
Self-righteousness is so deadly because the first thing it kills is your self-awareness. When you’re self-righteous, no one, not even God, can tell you that you’ve been justifying yourself.
On judgment day, the ones who know they should be out, are in. They ones who think they’re in, are out.