There is some pretty scary stuff in the Bible. Have you ever really thought about what it’s going to be like when Christ comes back? People bursting out of their graves. Fire. Lightening. War horns. The skies being ripped open. Reading the imagery used by John in Revelation, by Daniel in his prophecies, and even by Jesus toward the end of his life can be frightening.
But in my opinion, the most frightening chapter in all of Scripture is Matthew 25. When I read through the stories Jesus tells in this chapter I realize that I am a foolish virgin, a wicked and lazy servant, and a goat.
The five foolish maidens ran out of oil while waiting on the bridegroom to come. They left the group in search of more oil. While they were away, the party started without them. They came running back, banging on the door, but their names weren’t on the guest list.
They left the group. They went searching for fulfillment somewhere else. Sound familiar?
A millionaire businessman goes away on a trip and entrusts his funds to his three most loyal servants. To one he gives the equivalent of about $4 million. To another he gives roughly $1.6 million. To the third he gives about $800,000. The third servant is afraid of his master so he buries $800,000 in the ground. Upon his return the master gets exactly $800,000 back from that third servant. The master calls him wicked and lazy. He takes away everything he has and kicks him out on the street.
He was afraid of his master. Why take risks? Better safe than sorry, right?
SHEEP VS. GOATS
Lastly, Jesus paints a picture of the judgment scene. Those entering life had clothed, fed, and cared for Jesus inasmuch as they clothed, fed, and cared for their needy brothers and sisters. Those entering eternal punishment turned a blind eye to the needs of their brothers and sisters, thus ignoring the needs of Jesus himself. Nothing is said about worship practices, faith, baptism, doctrines, or patterns.
The goats may have said the right things and believed the right things. The sheep DID the right things.
I desire to be a wise, good, faithful sheep. But when it really comes down to it, I’m more like a foolish, wicked, lazy goat.
I feel like Paul at the end of Romans 7: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
THANKS BE TO GOD
In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us a warning. It’s a wake up call. “Be alert!” he says. “Keep watch!” he urges. It doesn’t have to be that way. We still have time. Each and every one of us still has today. This moment. He tells us these stories to warn us about the jagged rocks along the coast line, about the sharp bend in the road ahead. He doesn’t want any of us to become the foolish virgins or the wicked, lazy servant, or a goat.
And so I, like Paul, can say, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”