Sheep (by David Peterson)
Jesus talks of separating sheep from goats, or believers from non-believers, when He returns. Sheep are to go to the right, a place of favor, and goats go to the left, a place of rejection. He says:
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’”
These “sheep” are commended by Jesus for actions that show love and compassion to those less fortunate. These sheep will inherit eternal life for their obedience.
Robert Peterson, professor of systematic theology, once wrote: “Historically, the key passage on Hell in the Gospels is Jesus’ teaching about the sheep and the goats. Jesus, the Son of Man, banishes the accursed to “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. Clearly, the goats in Jesus’ metaphor will endure eternal punishment.
The great singer/song writer Michael Card wrote “When Did We See You?” and his second stanza reads:
For I was hungry, lost, and tired, a stranger all alone.
In a cold, dark prison cell, no place to call my own.
When did we see you, among the least of these?
For when you gave a stranger love, You gave it all to me, You gave it all to me.
Card is singing about sheep that do as Jesus taught: to treat everyone as if they were Jesus.
Let us pray: Prince of Peace, teach us to treat everyone we meet just as you would, with love, compassion, tenderness, warmth, and acceptance. Let us be the sheep that follow you dispensing love and goodness all our days!