Day 33 - Separation & Preparation

Day 33 - Separation & Preparation

Written by: Joy Hardin

Matthew 25:34-36, 41
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (ESV)

While the book of Mark presents Jesus as the Suffering Servant, Luke shows Him as the Son of Man, and John showcases the deity of Christ, the Book of Matthew presents Jesus as the promised Messiah and coming King of the World. In Matthew, we see Jesus teaching repeatedly on the Kingdom. As He was drawing closer to His death, we see Him preparing His followers for things to come, not just in the immediate future but in the distant future as well. We are given a glimpse of Jesus returning one day as King to sit on his throne and judge the nations.

This passage mentions two separate preparations: The Kingdom God has prepared for those who serve in His name (v. 34) and the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (v. 41).
Jesus teaches that there will be a time of separation. People who love Jesus and serve in His name will be on one side, and those who serve their own desires will be on the other. The analogy Jesus gives is as a shepherd separating sheep from goats. The word used for separation indicates a boundary, and it gives the idea of severing the two groups, excluding those who failed to serve Him and serve others in His name.

We have seen Matthew 25:35-36 lived out by many in Romania and other countries, as they helped refugees from Ukraine. They donated food and manned soup kitchens, built shelters and opened their homes, donated clothes, toys and medical supplies for hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians. These sacrifices are a picture of the kind of love Jesus wants us to show for others. But He wants us to have more than just a humanitarian heart; He wants us to care about their eternal home as well. The warning is clear: “these will go away into eternal punishment” (verse 46). It’s important to remember that this place of punishment was not created for people, but for “the devil and his angels” (verse 41).

It’s easy to focus on the action portion of Jesus’ message (what we do for others, we are doing for Him) and miss the other jewel that sits in plain sight. He has a Kingdom prepared that has been there since the foundation of the world!

Usually when we are excited about something we prepare for it in advance, and the opposite is often true about things we dread. I remember my first big science project in middle school. We were given several months to work on the assignment, but I was dreading it so much I procrastinated until the day before it was due. I literally stayed up all night working on my paper and presentation. When I finished (with the help of my dear mom), it was complete with very poor descriptions and very lumpy drawings of the most poisonous mushrooms in the world. It was a pretty boring and pretty bad paper, netting me a low but barely passing grade. This Kingdom prepared for us since the foundation of the world won’t receive a barely passing score. 1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us that it will be grander and more amazing than we can imagine.

As followers of Jesus who serve others – those who are hungry, thirsty, displaced, and imprisoned – we are those who are blessed by the Father. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God prepared good works for us to do in advance. It’s always been God’s plan for us to care for others. We are not saved by these good works, but they are evidence of our relationship and love for Christ.  

There is someone near you who is lonely and in need of help or kindness. When you go out this week, make a plan to intentionally look for people to encourage, help, and include in God’s Kingdom. Send them a card, take them a meal, or give them a phone call. A widow told me recently that even just a short phone call means more to her than people know. Make a point to reach out to at least one person this week.

Father, thank you for all you have prepared for me. Lead me to someone who needs you. Help me to show them your love and kindness.