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Notes for Trinity 26/Second-Last Sunday – Matthew 25:31-46

by pastorjuhl ~ November 10th, 2008

Paul Lindemann, “The Sermon and the Propers”

[The Gospel] is the conclusion of our Lord’s discourse two days before His death, in which He instructed His disciples, upon their request, regarding the end of the world. He spoke to comfort and admonish His believers and to warn and to fill with dread the others who might be helped. (Vol. 4, p. 193)

P.E. Kretzmann, “Popular Commentary”

There are only two divisions on the last day; no social distinctions, no preference by rank and wealth, no neutral people; in one or the other of the two assemblies every person in the world will find himself, inevitably, without escape, in the one case; with no desire to escape, in the other. That is the first act of the Judgment, the separating, the fixing of an impassable gulf. The sheep are those that followed the great shepherd, Jesus, willingly, that heard His voice, the believers; the goats are those who refused obedience to His gentle rule, that were disobedient to the Gospel, the unbelievers, the hypocrites among the Christians, the entire godless world.

This king calls those at His right hand the blessed of His Father, since they by faith received the benediction of the Father, by which all good gifts were imparted to them, and by which they became the children of God…. And the reason for this wonderful gift? A reward for their faith, as shown in the ordinary, every-day deeds of kindness to the lowly brethren of Christ… Christ expects no heroic acts, He demands no miracles, but He will judge the world in righteousness, making these deeds of kindness and charity the basis of His judgment; for it is impossible to perform even the smallest act of kindness in His spirit without faith in Him in the heart…. Such works, done without ostentation, without any idea of personal gain, are in reality the truest service they can render to Him.

He does not say, “Cursed of my Father”, for they have brought the curse upon themselves…. They have no one to blame but themselves, this just sentence strikes them by no one’s fault but their own.

Blessed Martin Luther’s Church Postil

Six different kinds (of works of mercy) are mentioned in the text, although many more might be given; yet were one to judge critically in the matter, there are no more works than those implied in the Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill; in which we are commanded in general, as Christ Himself explains it, not to be angry with our neighbor, but to be kind to him and ready to serve and assist him, supply his wants in time of need, whether in hunger, thirst, nakedness, suffering, imprisonment, sickness, or other troubles, and to do this even to those who may have given us occasion for anger or for unmerciful acts, and thus do not appear to be worthy of our love and benevolence. For that is a poor virtue which does good only to those we love, or from whom we hope to receive kindness and thanks in return.

There is no doubt that he who performs such works of mercy to Christians, must himself be a Christian and a believer; but he who does not believe in Christ will certainly never be so kind toward a Christian, much less toward Christ, so that for his sake he would show mercy to the poor and needy; therefore he will refer to those works at the judgment, and accordingly pronounce the verdict to both parties, to those who have done and those who have not done these works, as a public testimony of the fruits of their faith or their unbelief.

Since [Jesus] has shown us such mercy as to save us, we are also to act toward our neighbor in a manner as not to transgress against the Fifth Commandment, which especially demands love and mercy. And we are not to do these things simply because of the commandment and of the threatening of judgment, but for the sake of the example of the excellent and great goodness God has shown.

He who does not have faith will not do works of mercy to Christians, but he who does them, will do them because he believes that he has a faithful Savior and Redeemer in Christ, who has reconciled him to God. Therefore he must have also a kind, loving heart toward his neighbors, even toward his enemies, and serve them in every time of need. Yea, he endures also, as I have just said, those things which come upon him from the world and the devil on account of his faith.

Hymns (LSB): 804, 508, 564, 857

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