Jesus is teaching at the Mount of Olives just before being betrayed by Judas. He is talking about when he returns as King to judge the world separating the righteous from the unrighteous on his right and left. We pick up the story in Matthew 25:34-46 where Jesus says…
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
So those on the right made it because they fed the hungry, gave a drink to the thirsty, took in the stranger, provided clothing for the naked, looked after the sick and visited those in prison. Those on the left did not and they were cast into eternal punishment. Those on the right served and those on the left did not.
One might ask if this passage teaches that we are saved by our works. Clearly Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:8-9 that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so no one can boast.” It is not that we are saved BY works, but rather FOR works. James 2:17 shares that, “Faith without works is dead.” Its impossible to have real faith and not do work. 1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone serves, do so with the strength that God provides.” We are not to serve on our own strength, rather when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, then we serve. There is a reason for this.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” So whenever you serve others, serve like you are serving Christ because you are! The only way to properly serve the King of kings and Creator of the universe is to serve others by the power that only He gives us through faith in Christ alone.
Here is the challenge: Today is Go Skateboarding Day around the world. Bring some cold water to the skaters at the local skate park today. Just do it! Let your faith in God give you the power to serve others today, because it is Christ you are serving and you need God’s power to serve God.