NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
Robert R Seyda
GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE
At the beginning of Chapter 24, we read where Jesus took His disciples over to the Mount of Olives for one last instruction session on what was about to happen and what was going to take place down the road. He continued His private discussion with them here in this chapter.
He begins by saying, “At that time.” Obviously, He was talking about the future. He then told the parable of ten bridesmaids who had been invited to participate in a wedding. The time came for them to go to where the wedding was to take place and to patiently wait for the arrival of the groom. Since it was the custom, in those days, for the groom to come at night to steal the bride away, they took their oil lamps to make sure that when they heard the announcement of his arrival, they would be able to have the light they needed to go out and meet him. Unfortunately, only five of them were alert enough to take along some extra oil so they would be ready in case the wait for the groom took longer than they thought it would. As a result, only the five wise bridesmaids made it into the wedding festival.
Then our Lord told the parable about an estate owner who left to go abroad on a lengthy trip. So he called in his servants that were in charge of his business, gave each of them a different amount of money so they could manage his estate while he was gone. The servant with the most responsibility was given five bags of silver, the next servant received two bags, and the last servant got one. It took a long time before the property owner returned. When he did, he called in his servants to give an account of how the business went while he was gone. The servant who got five bags of silver had been able to make the business grow and earn an additional five bags. In other words, the estate owner not only got back what he gave the servant, but his business was now even more prosperous than when he left. The second servant had been able to do the same with his two bags of silver. But the servant who received one bag went and hid it so that it was safe until the owner returned. As a result, the first and second servants were promoted while the last servant was thrown off the estate in shame and embarrassment.
After this, Jesus then tells His disciples that when He returns with heaven’s angels to sit upon His throne, all of those He left behind will be called before Him. And just like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, with the sheep on his right and the goats on his left, so He will separate the ones He left behind, with those who were diligent and faithful on His right and those who were lazy and unproductive on His left. To those on His right He will say, “Come , you who are blessed by my Father, receive your inheritance, the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began.” And to those on His left, He will say: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
But the Master will not do this without any explanation. To those on His right, He will tell them how they fed Him when He was hungry. How when He was thirsty they gave Him something to drink, when He was homeless they took Him in, when He was cold they gave Him warm clothes to wear, when He was sick they nursed Him back to health, and when He was in prison they went to visit Him. This sounded strange to them, so they ask, “When did this happen? We never saw you like that!” Then the Master pointed to all their fellow believers standing around and said, “When you did that for them, you were doing it for Me.“
Then those on His left who were ordered to depart desperately asked for an explanation of why they were being ejected from His presence. Again, He repeated what He said to those on His right about His being hungry, thirsty, homeless, cold, sick and in prison. But to them, He said, “When you refused to do anything for your fellow believers who were suffering under these conditions, you were refusing to do it for Me.”
So the lesson to His disciples was clear. The time of His return was unpredictable, like that of the groom, but they needed to be prepared and ready when He did come. And while He was gone, they had work to do to make what He started to grow and prosper, each one according to the gifts given them, so that when He returned they could claim their part of the kingdom as an inheritance. And finally, their mission, while He was away, was to do all they could to support each other and reach out to those who needed help. After all, He died for them too; His blood was also shed for them, so they needed to hear the Good News of His first coming so they could be ready for His return.
Now, we will walk through Chapter twenty-six in the coming days. This will be a painful journey with our Lord. We will see how the disciples were tested for their loyalty, and watch as our Lord Jesus undergoes the most agonizing trial of His life. I hope and pray that you will come along to discover things you may not have known before about our Lord’s passion.
God bless all of you faithful readers. May He send you blessings for your dedication and love of His Word. We will begin Chapter twenty-six tomorrow.