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Matthew 25:40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them], you did it to Me.'

< Matthew 25:39
Matthew 25:41 >

      40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, &c.--Astonishing dialogue this between the King, from the Throne of His glory, and His wondering people! "I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat," &c.--"Not we," they reply. "We never did that, Lord: We were born out of due time, and enjoyed not the privilege of ministering unto Thee." "But ye did it to these My brethren, now beside you, when cast upon your love." "Truth, Lord, but was that doing it to Thee? Thy name was indeed dear to us, and we thought it a great honor to suffer shame for it. When among the destitute and distressed we discerned any of the household of faith, we will not deny that our hearts leapt within us at the discovery, and when their knock came to our dwelling, 'our bowels were moved,' as though 'our Beloved Himself had put in His hand by the hole of the door.' Sweet was the fellowship we had with them, as if we had 'entertained angels unawares'; all difference between giver and receiver somehow melted away under the beams of that love of Thine which knit us together; nay, rather, as they left us with gratitude for our poor givings, we seemed the debtors--not they. But, Lord, were we all that time in company with Thee? . . . Yes, that scene was all with Me," replies the King--"Me in the disguise of My poor ones. The door shut against Me by others was opened by you--'Ye took Me in.' Apprehended and imprisoned by the enemies of the truth, ye whom the truth had made free sought Me out diligently and found Me; visiting Me in My lonely cell at the risk of your own lives, and cheering My solitude; ye gave Me a coat, for I shivered; and then I felt warm. With cups of cold water ye moistened My parched lips; when famished with hunger ye supplied Me with crusts, and my spirit revived--/YE DID IT UNTO ME.'" What thoughts crowd upon us as we listen to such a description of the scenes of the Last Judgment! And in the light of this view of the heavenly dialogue, how bald and wretched, not to say unscriptural, is that view of it to which we referred at the outset, which makes it a dialogue between Christ and heathens who never heard of His name, and of course never felt any stirrings of His love in their hearts! To us it seems a poor, superficial objection to the Christian view of this scene, that Christians could never be supposed to ask such questions as the "blessed of Christ's Father" are made to ask here. If there were any difficulty in explaining this, the difficulty of the other view is such as to make it, at least, insufferable. But there is no real difficulty. The surprise expressed is not at their being told that they acted from love to Christ, but that Christ Himself was the Personal Object of all their deeds: that they found Him hungry, and supplied Him with food: that they brought water to Him, and slaked His thirst; that seeing Him naked and shivering, they put warm clothing upon Him, paid Him visits when lying in prison for the truth, and sat by His bedside when laid down with sickness. This is the astonishing interpretation which Jesus says "the King" will give to them of their own actions here below. And will any Christian reply, "How could this astonish them? Does not every Christian know that He does these very things, when He does them at all, just as they are here represented?" Nay, rather, is it conceivable that they should not be astonished, and almost doubt their own ears, to hear such an account of their own actions upon earth from the lips of the Judge? And remember, that Judge has come in His glory, and now sits upon the throne of His glory, and all the holy angels are with Him; and that it is from those glorified Lips that the words come forth, "Ye did all this unto ME." Oh, can we imagine such a word addressed to ourselves, and then fancy ourselves replying, "Of course we did--To whom else did we anything? It must be others than we that are addressed, who never knew, in all their good deeds, what they were about?" Rather, can we imagine ourselves not overpowered with astonishment, and scarcely able to credit the testimony borne to us by the King?

JFB.


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Matthew Images and Notes

The Book of Matthew

Matthew 2:2 - Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 18:3 - And Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Matthew by Rembrandt
Painting of St. Matthew with Angel by Rembrandt

Introduction to The Gospel of Matthew

The Word Gospel. The first book of the English Bible that most of us read from is the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew is the first of the four gospel writings, yet there is only one gospel about Jesus Christ and there are four different writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word "Gospel" means "good news", and the good news is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross and then 3 days later conquering death and rising from the dead, offering salvation to all mankind, this is the Gospel.

Summary of the Book of Matthew

Brief Summary. Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the long awaited Messiah King of he Jews as foretold by the ancient Jewish prophets. He came to reveal how to enter the "Kingdom of Heaven."

Purpose. It is very obvious that the Gospel of Matthew was written for the purpose of revealing that the man Jesus of Nazareth was actually the King of the Jews, the long awaited Messiah, the sovereign Lord Jehovah who came from heaven to this world revealing to mankind the "kingdom of heaven". The King of the Jews, the Messiah Jesus fulfilled every prophecy that was spoken about Him in the ancient Jewish Scriptures, in the Old Testament. The prophecies that spoke of the "Kingdom" that the Messiah would bring would be a spiritual Kingdom that would never be destroyed.

Map of Israel in the Time of Matthew

Audience. When reading the book of Matthew it becomes clear that the writer was speaking to a Jewish audience. One of the obvious reasons is that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is mentioned over 30 times and never the Kingdom of God. This is because the Jews do not speak the name of God and this could be the very reason that Matthew used this phrase. There are many times while reading the book that an event happens and a prophecy is cited. The event is mentioned as the direct fulfillment of a promise made to the Jews by one of their Jewish prophets, and the fulfillment of the prophecy was happening before their very eyes. It is clear that the audience of people are the Jews, they were awaiting their King, and Matthew records that the King had come and they rejected their King.

Authorship. Early Christian writings and traditions have attributed the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew to the apostle Matthew. Many scholars question whether or not Matthew was the true author of the first Gospel, but there is no way at this current time to be absolutely positive based on historical evidence. Most agree that Matthew was the author. The Bible reveals that Matthew, or Levi, as he was sometimes called, collected taxes for the Romans. One day Jesus passed by and called Matthew to come and follow him, and Matthew did so. The Bible also records that Matthew held a banquet at his house with several of his tax collector friends and Jesus being invited to the banquet was the guest of honor (Mark 2:14-15). The Bible also provides a list of the 12 apostles and Matthew was named among them.

Date. There is no way to determine with absolute certainty the date that the book of Matthew was written. Most scholars agree that the book of Matthew was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., this is because Jesus spoke of many events as though they had not happened yet. A large number of scholars do not believe in the miracle of prophecy and therefore insist that the Gospel of Matthew was written after the fall of Jerusalem because of the accuracy of the predicted events.

Language. There are many references among the books in the history of the early church that state that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written by Matthew in the biblical Hebrew language, and he was writing to an audience of  Jews throughout the world who had become followers of Jesus. Unfortunately there is no evidence whatsoever of a Hebrew or Aramaic manuscript, so many scholars have agreed that the Gospel of Matthew is not actually a translation from Hebrew into Greek, but was actually written in Greek. The whole subject of the Gospel of Matthew being written in Hebrew must remain speculation rather than fact.

Outline of the Book of Matthew

The King Comes and His Kingdom is Rejected - Matthew 1-12
The Rejection of the King's Teaching and Ministry - Matthew 13-25
The King's Trial and Crucifixion - Matthew 26-27
The King's Victory and Resurrection - Matthew 28
The King's Commissioning of His Apostles - Matthew 28

Matthew - Interesting Notes

Study Bible Icon Matthew mentions four women in his genealogy which is not typical for Jewish genealogical records: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheeba who were all associated with some sort of immorality. Tamar (incest), Rahab (harlotry), Ruth (a descendant of Moab who committed incest) and Bathsheba (adultery). Christ's greatness was in Himself not his genealogy.

Study Bible Icon There are many intimations for the word "King" in Matthew if one takes the time to look. For example in chapter one there is a royal genealogy mentioning king David at the start. Chapter two reveals the kingly gifts of the Magi. Chapter three calls John the Baptist a "herald" which is a cultural term that represents a herald for a king. Etc. 

Study Bible Icon There are similarities with the number four. The four colors in the veil of the Temple were purple, scarlet, white, and blue. The four faces of the cherubim are the lion, ox, man, eagle. The four Gospel accounts are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. 

Quick Reference Maps - Matthew

Israel in New Testament Times

The Kingdom of Herod the Great

The Divisions of Herod's Kingdom

The Flight into Egypt

The Baptism of Jesus

The Beginning of Christ's Ministry

Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee

Jesus Ministers in Galilee

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem

Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus

Jesus Journeys from Nazareth to Jerusalem

The Final Journey of Jesus to Jerusalem

 

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Matthew Resources

Outline of the Life of Jesus in Harmony
Simple Map of First Century Israel
Topographical Map of First Century Israel
Map of the Ministry of Jesus
Map of the Roads in Ancient Israel
Map of the Roman Empire