The Judgment, Part VII


The last body of teachings of Jesus is found in Matthew 24 and 25 that concern the end of  the world and the last judgment.  In Chapter 24 Christ recounts the events of the end time, and in Chapter 25 He tells three parables pertaining to our readiness to meet the Lord.

The parable of the ten virgins, five whose lamps are filled with oil and five whose lamps are not, deals with the delay of the end time and the need for preparedness in anticipation of the eventual return of the Lord.  In the story, when the bridegroom returns, five are ready and waiting.  They are taken into the banquet hall.  When  the other five, who went to retrieve oil for their lamps, returned, they were locked out.  They would not share in the celebration, that is, they would not be members of the kingdom.  Jesus points out that one needs to be alert and watchful for the coming of the Lord and prepared to receive Him.

The second parable is about a master who gave each of three servants a certain number of talents to administer until the master returned.  Two of the servants, one given five talents and the other two, doubled the master’s wealth.  The third servant hid his master’s money in the ground, thus failing to increase the master’s  assets.  The first two were welcome into the joy of their master.  The master had the third servant cast into outer darkness, a representation of God’s judgment.  We are to be about the Master’s business.

The third parable depicts the Son of Man seated on his throne with the sheep and the goats appearing before Him.  The sheep are invited into the kingdom; for, they clothed, fed, and visited in prison Christ Himself.  They were perplexed on how they did this.  Christ explains to them that they did this to Him when they did it to “the least of these my brothers,” or other Christians.  The little ones and the brothers in Matthew refer to Christian believers.  Because the goats did not serve those in need, they were condemned to eternal punishment; the sheep entered eternal life.

The Church is an eschatological community which means that it looks forward to the completion and end of history with the return of the Lord who will separate out the sheep from the goats.  We learn from the parables in Matthew 25 to be ready and waiting for the bridegroom to return.  In the meantime, we are to produce fruit in Christ’s service.

When we defend the faith and witness to Christ, we are performing a mission that He has commissioned us to do.  Our forthtelling of the message of the Gospel is God’s work to gather to Himself a people who will share in His kingdom.  There is in life no more important endeavor than to serve the Lord in this eschatological mission.


Michael G. Tavella

March 20, 2024

The Forgiveness of Sin–Part VI
Dogma–The Dirty Word