Ep.1237: Will I Survive God’s Final Judgment?
Learning the application and meaning of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats
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Theme Scripture: Matthew 25:32-33
Talking about the Day of Judgment can be difficult. The sad truth is that as magnanimous as the love and mercy of God through Jesus are, the opportunity to fail throughout the Day of Judgment will be very real. God created humanity with free will. The Day of Judgment will be about teaching our race how to use that free will to make righteous choices that lead to eternal life. This will require accountability for all and a heartfelt focus on unlearning and renouncing all things sinful. Because these lessons will be based on the enormous firsthand experiences with sin and death we all have in this age, they will be practical, logical, appealing and learnable. Jesus’ Parable of the Sheep and Goats is a picture of the end results of these lessons.
Jesus was a master storyteller
When he spoke any one of his several parables, he always had specific lessons in mind. To teach those lessons he regularly used common, real-life examples as symbols to make his point. The Parable of the Sheep and Goats is a classic example. Jesus was teaching about the often-prophesied future judgment that will come upon all nations of the world. This particular parable was depicting the end of the Judgment Day opportunities to prove humanity’s loyalty to God. It was a story to illustrate the final accounting for each and every human being.
In some regions of the world, sheep and goats look very much the same. Everyone in Israel in Jesus’ time would have been familiar with sheep, goats and the shepherds that cared for them. The most obvious lesson of this teaching? What may look the same can bring diametrically opposed results. Jesus was establishing that the differences between being ultimately in or out of God’s favor would not be easily detectable by outward appearance. So, why use sheep and goats to illustrate this?
Temperament and behavior
In a surprising number of ways, sheep and goats are opposites. As just one example, once sheep are trained, they habitually follow their shepherd. They recognize and respond to his voice, ignoring other voices. To live an eternally righteous life will require adherence to God’s laws through Jesus. It will require being responsive - not to threats - but to the simple direction of the shepherd. Goats, on the other hand, may occasionally heed the shepherd’s voice but are often preoccupied with exploring their own path. This exemplifies a very self-righteous approach and not a humble, godly approach to life.
Check out our July 11,2022 podcast, “Will I Survive God’s Final Judgment?” for more. We compare several characteristics of sheep and goats to see what Jesus was telling us will keep individuals in or out of God’s kingdom. These differences are amazing and revealing. By using sheep and goats as examples, Jesus gives us surprising details as to what each and every person can and should strive for. The bottom line? It’s all about the heart, the very core of each person. Join us and learn how to be sheep!