Rejection and Judgment

Discourse #5

In this lesson Mike examines Jesus' response to those who rejected Him. A response that will pronounce a judgment on the religious leaders of that time as well as a long prophetic discourse about the destruction of Jerusalem and His return at the end of the world.
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12 of 13

In narrative five Matthew describes the various encounters that Jesus has with people on His way from Galilee in the north to Jerusalem in the south. In most of these meetings, and especially with the religious leaders, Jesus finds lack of faith and hardness of hearts. The poor and the helpless are eager to make Him king but would soon abandon Him and even demand His crucifixion. The leaders and priests were openly hostile and rejected His teachings and claims despite the fact that what He had done was all according to Scripture. They plotted to take His life even though He was innocent of any crime. In discourse five Matthew records Jesus' response to this rejection by those to whom He had been sent.

Warning Against the Pharisees

Jesus' main protagonists were the Pharisees. They hated Him and wanted to kill Him because He posed such a threat to their position. In this passage Jesus reveals them for what they are and warns the people not to emulate them.

1Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
- Matthew 23:1-4

Jesus tells the people that the Pharisees placed themselves in Moses' position claiming authority from God for the things they commanded. They burdened the people with the yoke of the Law (without reference to grace or faith which was promised in the Law) but they themselves did not try to lighten the load with that promised grace or faith. They insisted on a strict measure of law keeping by the people that they, in most cases, did not adhere to.

5But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
- Matthew 23:5-7

What they did was based on pride and the desire to receive the honor of men. The motivation for their religious practice was evil, and Jesus said that God saw not only the behavior; He also saw and judged the motivation for the behavior.

8But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
- Matthew 23:8-10

Jesus ends the passage by exhorting His disciples not to emulate the Pharisees who try to "lord" over others in religious authority without support from God or the Scriptures:

  • Do not be called "rabbi" in the sense that the Pharisees had, with self appointed authority to speak where God had not spoken.
  • Do not be called "my father," again in the same sense that one had unquestioned authority and lordship over another brother.
  • Do not become a "leader" as the Pharisees had become. Leaders who gave no honor to Christ.

There are teachers, elders and leadership in the church but that leadership is always under the authority of Christ, always for the building up of the brethren, and always with the understanding that we are all brothers in Christ.

11But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
- Matthew 23:11-12

In verses 11 and 12 Jesus reminds them of the true spirit that must exist in those who lead and teach; a spirit of humility and service. Those who are like this are raised up in the kingdom to greater service and leadership by the authority and power of Christ. Those, like the Pharisees, who exalt themselves will ultimately be rejected.

The Eight Woes

Jesus' discourse in this section follows the style and pattern of the Old Testament prophets: warning, lament, prophecy of judgment and call to repentance. In the Old Testament the prophets preached using this format and Jesus, now speaking to the Jews who would be quite familiar with this format from their study of the prophets, speaks to them concerning the things that are to happen because they rejected Him.

He begins with the woes on the Pharisees who typified the worst of that society in their religious hypocrisy and refusal to believe in Him.

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
- Matthew 23:13

Woe for disbelieving and causing others to disbelieve while all the while pretending to believe.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
- Matthew 23:14

Woe for using religion to mask greed.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
- Matthew 23:15

Woe for leading others into error.

16"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' 17You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' 19You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
- Matthew 23:16-22

Woe for blasphemy in using God's name in making vows without considering God Himself.

23"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
- Matthew 23:23-24

Woe for majoring in minors. Making the small points of the law the most important in order to avoid doing what the Law says in regards to justice and mercy.

25"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
- Matthew 23:25-26

Woe to false rituals.

27"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
- Matthew 23:27-28

Woe to hypocrites.

29"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

34"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
- Matthew 23:29-36

Woe to those who shed innocent blood.

Jesus finishes with a strong condemnation of the Pharisees and those like them upon whom He says will come punishment for their sins.

Jesus' Lament over Jerusalem and Her People

37"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
- Matthew 23:37-39

Jesus mourns the fact that they have and will ultimately reject Him. He yearns for them to come to Him so that He might spare them the terrible judgment that awaits them. He declares the Jewish nation desolate and shakes His robe and stamps His sandals to shake off their dust from His feet as those who have not received Him.

In verse 39 He tells the Jews, those listening, that from this moment on He will no longer appear to those who reject Him. For the Jews, only those who recognize Him as Messiah will "see" Him (in the sense of see Him by faith). There is only the sign of Jonah left for them, and if they believe they will see Him again, if not they will see judgment, which He explains in the next section.

Discourse on the Judgment – Chapter 24 and 25

Jesus leaves the temple and as He leaves the Apostles point out the magnificent buildings of the temple which He has just said will be desecrated (fifty years of reconstruction work was in progress at the time).

1Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."
- Matthew 24:1-2

Jesus responds to their comment by saying that the buildings will not only be empty, they will be completely torn down. This sets up further questions by the Apostles (Peter, James, John, Andrew) who wanted to know more information about what He has just said.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
- Matthew 24:3

They questioned Him about when the destruction of the temple would be, what signs will accompany the second coming and the end of the world that the second coming will bring. Whether they thought both these events would happen at the same time or after a lapse of time is unknown. They did not know and were asking Jesus to instruct them in these matters.

This section is complex but can be divided into three views:

  1. Panoramic view of world history from that moment until the second coming of Jesus that includes the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (verses 4-14).
  2. Telescopic view that focuses only on the events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (verses 15-35).
  3. Telescopic view that focuses only on the events that lead to the second coming of Christ at the end of the world (verses 36-44).

Panorama Until Second Coming

And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you.
- Matthew 24:4

Note that these instructions are given so that they will know and avoid false teachers and prophets in these matters.

5For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. 6You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
- Matthew 24:5-8

The cycle of false prophets, woes and trouble in the world will continue until the end, but these in themselves are not the signs. They are only the beginning of things that will get progressively worse before not only the end of Jerusalem comes, but also the end of the world comes.

9"Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.
- Matthew 24:9-12

This passage is in parallel to II Thessalonians where the Apostle Paul talks about the end of the world and what must take place first.

  • Apostasy (falling away, love grows cold).
  • The "Man of Lawlessness," who deceives many through false signs and tries to take the place of God, will be revealed.
  • Jesus describes the devolution of the world.
But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
- Matthew 24:13

In contrast, He promises that the faithful will be saved despite these trials and evils.

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
- Matthew 24:14

He also promises that the great commission will be carried out and must be carried out before the end can/will come.

This is a panoramic view of the events and flow of history that will occur until His second coming.

Telescope to the Fall of Jerusalem

Judea was rebellious and longed to return to the glory days of independence and power that they experienced at the time of King Solomon's reign. In early 60 AD they had such unrest that Rome sent troops to quell the rebellion. From 66-70 AD the Roman armies successfully laid siege to Jerusalem and totally destroyed the city and temple along with over one million people. This total destruction of the Jewish nation was the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy to the disciples 33 years earlier described in this passage. The disciples wanted to know when this would happen and Jesus gives them the "signs" to watch out for.

15"Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.
- Matthew 24:15-18

The first sign was the Abomination of Desolation. The point He makes here is that when the temple would be desecrated this would be a sign that destruction was near and that they should escape the city.

Daniel (Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11) had prophesied that the temple would be defiled. This happened during the reign of the Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC), who sacrificed a pig on the altar of the temple. Jesus picks up this idea and says that in the same way, when the temple would be defiled by Gentiles during their lifetime, it would be the signal to escape.

Luke 21:20 tells us that the surrounding of the temple by foreign armies in 70 AD was what constituted defilement. The standards (shields) of the Roman army were idolatrous and often used for worship by the soldiers. Surrounding the temple with these would desecrate it. Many scholars differ here as to what the abomination was and refer to Jewish historians for events that occurred before, during or after the siege that could fit, but Luke 21:20 is the only biblical reference that fits in context.

"He who reads" means he who reads Daniel, and along with Christ's cryptogram, will be able to know when it is time to get out, and many did. In 68 AD the majority of Christians living in Jerusalem escaped to Pella thus avoiding being killed in the massacre.

19But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
- Matthew 24:19-21

The tribulation is the suffering caused by the Romans which wiped out the nation. Over one million killed. The combination of the gravity of the sin (Jews who received the blessings and promises but killed their messiah) and the horror of the punishment (nation wiped out) has not been equaled.

Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
- Matthew 24:22

God's providence permitted this war to end so that the Christians would not also be annihilated along with the Jews. Their city was destroyed and Romans made no distinction between Christian and non-Christian Jew.

23Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him. 24For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25Behold, I have told you in advance. 26So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.
- Matthew 24:23-26

The believers would naturally associate the destruction of Jerusalem with the return of Jesus, so the Lord warns them against being deceived by those who would claim to be the Lord or speak from God. Josephus, a Jewish historian of the time, documents how during this period rumors of the Messiah coming or being present circulated in order to keep people in the city. In those days hysteria and fear produced many "prophets" who claimed visions and messages from God.

For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
- Matthew 24:27

He tells them that when He returns it will be evident to all, like lightening across the sky, all will easily and readily know that it is He.

Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
- Matthew 24:28

The corpse is the Jewish nation, and the vultures are the false Christs and prophets. When you see them in abundance, they will be a second sign that the end of Jerusalem, not the world, is near.

"But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
- Matthew 24:29

The first word in this verse presents a problem to some, "immediately." If we make this next section a discussion about the end of the world or of the second coming of Jesus, then it must occur right after the destruction of Jerusalem (some believe and teach that Jesus has already returned).

Since the "Man of Lawlessness" that Paul talks about in ll Thessalonians chapter 2 has not been revealed, and Jesus has not returned, this passage must still be talking about events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem.

30And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
- Matthew 24:30-31

Verses 30-31 speak about the destruction of Jerusalem and the effect that this will have on others as well as believers. The language in this passage is apocalyptic in nature and was used by prophets to describe cataclysmic historical and political events (Isaiah 13 describes the destruction of Babylon in similar language). This type of language used the symbolism of the destruction of heavenly bodies to describe the very real fate of the world at the end of time (II Peter 3:10) but also the end and destruction of nations on the earth in the present or near future. In this case the end of the Jewish nation as a people under God's special care.

The coming of the Son of Man refers to both the second coming at the end of the world and the final judgment, but also any judgment God makes on a nation, in this case the nation of Israel. It also fits the context of this passage. The Jews who rejected Him now will see Him coming as a form of judgment on their nation, a terrible catastrophe that would horrify the world but liberate Christians and the gospel from Jewish persecution.

The Greek word translated "angel" can also be translated as "message." This verse can be seen as prophesy concerning the spreading of the gospel throughout the world after the fall of Jerusalem. Verse 14 said this needed to be done before Christ returned and now with the ideological and cultural restraints of Judaism removed, Christianity would flourish even more.

32"Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
- Matthew 24:32-35

Jesus warns them to pay attention to the signs He has given them because these things are coming in their generation, and He promises by His word that they will happen.

Telescope to the Second Coming

He has just explained to them the signs that will preview the destruction of Jerusalem:

  • Preaching of the gospel to all nations (Romans 10:18).
  • Multiplication of false Christs (Josephus).
  • Abomination of the temple (Luke 21:20).
  • Great tribulation (Josephus).

Now in verses 36-44 He makes a contrast with the second coming at the end of the world.

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
- Matthew 24:36

No one knows the time; not even Jesus while He is with His disciples.

37For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
- Matthew 24:37-39

There will be no cataclysmic signs. All will seem normal. Normal in the sense that the believers will be preparing themselves for the second coming and the end of the world, and the rest of the world will be ignoring it until it will be too late (just like in the time of Noah).

40Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
- Matthew 24:40-41

Some take this verse to mean that before Jesus returns some will be taken in what is called a "rapture," and disappear to be with God in heaven. This is part of the "pre-millennial" view of the rapture and thousand-year reign. In context, however, Jesus is talking about readiness, and He says that when He returns suddenly one will be saved, one lost. There will be no time for rapture and change. Just like Noah, when the rain came they were taken and disappeared into the ark, the others remained to die in the flood. When Jesus comes, the faithful will be taken to be with Him and the disbelievers immediately put away from His presence.

42"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
- Matthew 24:42-44

Since the end is to be like this we should always be prepared, and not foolishly lapse into sin thinking we have plenty of time to repent and be ready for the return. We never know, we must simply be ready.

Exhortations to Vigilance

After responding to the question of the judgment on Jerusalem and His return, Jesus warns them to be vigilant and does so with three parables.

Parable of the evil slave

45"Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' 49and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 24:45-51

Here, the lesson is not to presume we have the luxury of sinning because the end is far away. It can come at any time and the judgment is sure for those who are unfaithful.

Parable of the 10 virgins

1"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' 10And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' 12But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' 13Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
- Matthew 25:1-12

Here, Jesus warns against the foolishness of not being ready. In this parable the problem is not a question of gross evil, but rather negligence. To neglect Christ will bring destruction in the end as well.

Parable of the talents

14"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

19"Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' 21His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'

22"Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' 23His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'

24"And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'
26"But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'
29"For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 25:14-30

Here, the warning is for those who are in the kingdom but who fail to expand its borders, and fail to serve the king with zeal. This slave was not caught or surprised unprepared, he just assumed that his preparation was sufficient when it was not.

All three parables have the element of preparation, judgment and punishment for those who neglect to prepare for the return of the master.

Judgment scene

31"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40The 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.'
41"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' 44Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' 45Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'46These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
- Matthew 25:31-46

The climax of the discourse is the judgment scene at the end of the world. Those found to be righteous have obeyed the commands to love God (refer to Him as Lord) as well as their neighbor. Those condemned have the same judgment and are condemned because they did not love their neighbor. The punishment and reward is eternal in nature.

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