Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
I sat on the pier during a vacation, reading my Bible and watching my husband fish. A young man approached us, suggesting we use different bait. He glanced at me as he fidgeted from one foot to another and said, “I’ve been in jail.” He pointed to my Bible and sighed, “Do you think God really cares about people like me?”
Opening to Matthew 25, I read aloud that Jesus talked about His followers visiting those in prison.
“It says that? About being in prison?” Tears brimmed his eyes when I shared how God considers kindness toward His children a personal act of love toward Himself (vv. 31–40).
“I wish my parents would forgive me too.” He lowered his head. “I’ll be right back.” He returned and handed me his tattered Bible. “Would you show me where to find those words?”
I nodded. My husband and I hugged him as we prayed for him and his parents. We exchanged contact information and have continued praying for him.
At one point or another, we’ll feel unloved, unwelcomed, in need, and even physically or emotionally imprisoned (vv. 35–36). We’ll need reminders of God’s loving compassion and forgiveness. We’ll also have opportunities to support others who struggle with these feelings. We can be a part of God’s redeeming plan as we spread His truth and love wherever we go.
How can you love God by showing love to others today? In what ways has He showed you love through others?
Father, thank You for loving me, forgiving me, and giving me opportunities to share Your truth as I love You by loving others.
Discover what real love is.
Each of the gospel accounts has a specific structure. Matthew’s gospel uses five major teaching blocks around which the inspired author wraps the story of Jesus. Of these blocks, the first and the last are the longest and appear to stand in contrast to one another. The first block, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), presents the ideals and principles of life within the kingdom of God. The final message (chs. 23–25), along with some end-time prophecy, focuses on what happens when those kingdom principles are ignored—seen primarily in Jesus’ challenges to Israel’s unfaithful religious leaders (ch. 23).