“I was in prison and you visited me”
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?
40 Then the king will answer them, I assure you that when you did it for one of my younger brothers and sisters, you did it for me.
The image of Jesus’ words of final judgment used his familiar way of telling a short “parable.” This clearly showed the priorities of his Kingdom. The people of the Kingdom, he says, care for the hungry and the thirsty, the ill-dressed and the strangers, the prisoners and the sick. Jesus called these people “the least of my brothers and sisters”. Jesus knew that serving good people is usually easy. He said we find it in those who are poor, sick, hungry and in prison.
- Too many Christians ignore injustices like the one suffered by Pastor Burton, until they happen to them. Jesus rebuked the very pious people of his day for carefully giving a tenth of even tiny herbs like mint “while neglecting righteousness and love for God” (Luke 11:42). In what ways every day, in regular or voluntary activities, could you work for more justice? Are you ready to always make justice a priority?
Click here to learn more about the “Miracle of Innocence” ministry led by Pastor Burton.
- We sometimes say we should “see the face of Jesus” in people in need and help them. In Jesus’ story, the people received were surprised – they didn’t realize that they were helping Jesus. Jesus said that all people who need help are his “brothers and sisters”. He showed us that we are one human family, so those unjustly imprisoned or facing poverty and disease are “us” and not “them”. How is God reshaping your attitude toward “the least of them” in your community and in the world?
Lord Jesus, how many times have I met you, needing justice, food, or healing, and turned away without seeing you? Forgive me. Keep changing my perspective to see and act with your compassion. Amen.