Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Seeing God (part 9 of 9)

Now why does this matter?  It matters because of what happens in conjunction with this particular report of the activity of the Son of Man.  Jesus goes on to say that “All the nations will be assembled before Him, and He will separate people from one another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.  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.’” (Matthew 25:32-34) 

Paying close attention now, it is possible to learn why they will inherit the kingdom (mind you, this is not about going to a place called heaven, but rather, living in and possessing and establishing the Creator God’s kingdom brought to earth), as Jesus (the Son of Man, the Son of God, the King) says “For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I was naked and you gave Me clothing, I was sick and you took care of Me, I was in prison and you visited Me” (25:35-36).  This sounds an awful lot like the use of treasure.  Might it be the case that one is supposed to think, at this point, about the construct of purity in heart from earlier in Matthew? 

Matthew goes on to report the response from those to whom Jesus has spoken, as he records Jesus saying “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or naked and clothe You?  When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’” (25:37-39)  After Jesus has detailed, and after His hearers have repeated the use of treasure, illustrated by food, drink, hospitality and shelter, clothing, and the gift of self and time, which can now be understood as the demonstration of purity of heart (it is not difficult to see in these things the care that the Creator God demands be given to resident foreigners, orphans, widows, and the poor), the righteous respond most interestingly. 

Just in case it passed un-noticed, the response contains three uses of “see You.”  It is asked, “when did we see You.”  Here there is a demonstration of purity of heart directed towards the King (Jesus, God), followed by a seeing.  There it is!  This is the answer for which we this study been searching.  To seal the deal and close out this study, look at what comes next.  “And the King will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me” (25:40).  Those that give of themselves and their treasure in these ways: providing food, drink, clothing, shelter, and care to fellow travelers in this world that also, however broken and marred, bear the same divine image with which all have been endowed, reveal that they are pure in heart.  Yes, according to Jesus, in doing these things they have seen, and do indeed see God.          

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