What does Matthew 25:39 mean?
ESV: And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
NIV: When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
NASB: And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
CSB: When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you? '
NLT: When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
KJV: Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
NKJV: Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
Verse Commentary:
At some point in the end times (Matthew 24:3), Jesus divides a large group of people into two groups. He welcomed the first group into His kingdom, saying they had cared for Him when He was most in need (Matthew 25:35–36). These people are connected to God's predestination (Matthew 24:34), a theme associated with those who come to saving faith in Christ (Ephesians 4:1; Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:27; Romans 11:7; Titus 1:1). This contrast is especially clear when Jesus turns to condemn the other group (Matthew 25:41).

This group described as righteous (Matthew 25:37) has no memory of ever helping Jesus, Himself, in person. Given that this judgment occurs in the end of days, most or all the people present will never have seen Jesus in the flesh until this very moment. So, they are responding to His approval by repeating it in the form of a question. When, and how, did they serve to meet the needs of Christ?

The King gives them a powerful and profound answer in the following verse. Those who love other believers (1 John 3:11) and serve them (John 13:31–35) prove by their actions that they are true followers of Christ (John 14:15). When God's people care for each other (Matthew 10:40–42), it is as if they are caring for Jesus, Himself (Matthew 25:40).
Verse Context:
Matthew 25:31–46 describes Jesus' epic judgment, to take place when He returns as King with His angels and takes His place on the throne. He will divide those judged into two groups: "sheep" and "goats." The sheep will be welcomed and praised for serving those in need. The goats will be sent away from Jesus to eternal fire and condemned for not serving those in need. This comes at the end of the Olivet Discourse, which began when disciples asked Jesus about the end days (Matthew 24:3). This passage is notoriously difficult to interpret, making it especially important to handle with caution. Though it is referred to as a "parable," thanks to the use of shepherding terms, the situation it describes seems to be very real.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus uses two additional parables to illustrate a state of constant readiness for His return after He has gone. His followers should be working for Him while they wait. They must not be like the foolish young women who missed a wedding feast because they forgot oil for their lamps. They must be like the servants who doubled their harsh master's investments while He was away. Jesus concludes with a third descriptive passage, showing how He will judge between the righteous and evil when He returns as King.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 25 concludes the "Olivet Discourse:" Jesus' teaching to the disciples about future things as they sit on the Mount of Olives. This follows His dire predictions about the Temple and Jerusalem in chapter 24. He gives two more parables to emphasize that they must be prepared for His return. Finally, Jesus describes the moment of His return, after a time of tribulation, when He will judge all who live on earth at the beginning of His kingdom. This leads into Matthew's account of Jesus' Last Supper, betrayal, and arrest in chapter 26.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/28/2024 12:22:31 AM
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