Shepherd and Judge

. 2 min read

Christ Church, Mountain Top, Christ the King
Psalm 100
Matthew 25.31-46
(additional reading), Ezekiel 34.11-24
Compare/contrast Matthew – Ezekiel
– unfamiliar
event (stylized telling, Bruner) – Parable
– Sheep/shepherd
– Judge … based on how we treat the poor
– Apocalyptic
      For Matthew, the climax of the “end of the
world” sermon (5th of 5)
      Advent – next week – always starts with
apocalyptic discourse
      Both conclude and begin the Christian year
with “the End”
      Ezekiel – apocalyptic language throughout
placed prior to our weekend of consumption
Focus today on Matthew, but before that …
on Ezekiel:
      Judgment (earlier in chapter) on shepherds
who “pasture themselves on the sheep” – leadership that is self-centered
      Judgment on sheep that take advantage of
other sheep – will destroy the fat and strong because they have gained their
strength by dominating the “runts”
Christmas couple with child
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not
be heard (Prov 21.13)

Apocalypse as Good News
      Recognize that the world as we know it is
broken, needs to be set right
      To set something right, a judgment must be
made that it is broken
      “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on
earth as it is in heaven”
      Our Righteous Judge is also our Merciful
will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will
feed them with justice (Ezekiel 34:16)
6 acts of mercy
      Give food to the hungry
      Give drink to the thirsty
      Welcome the stranger
      Clothe the naked
      Care for the sick
      Visit the prisoners
NOTE: Nothing difficult or miraculous
no healing, no deliverance, no new world order or social structure … as simple
(and difficult) as caring for the one person that God puts in front of you
      And, not giving care in a way that
perpetuates privilege and inequality, but recognizes Jesus in the other,
recognizes a brother, a sister.
Danilo deported
Politicians and journalists can debate immigration policy, but for disciples of
Jesus there is no such luxury. We are called to “welcome the stranger” and to
find in the stranger the presence of Jesus – whether the stranger is a Latino
Pentecostal or an Arab Muslim. For Jesus, this is not about policy, it is all
about people.
I tell you: Just as you did it to one of the least [significant] of these
brothers [and sisters] of mine, you did it to me (Mt 25.40).
Novelty of the teaching – Jeremias (cited by Bruner)
            Surprised righteous
                        Not legalistic – do not
realize their righteousness or evil, p 573
            Hidden Jesus
Truly, you are a God who hides himself (Isa
                        Not paternalistic –
equals in the presence of Jesus

Dr. Martin Salia (Ebola, Sierra
Leone, see 11/22 church website story)