Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
This text is part of what is known as the "Olivet Discourse", which is an extended teaching of Jesus that was given on the Mount of Olives.
Jesus ends His discourse by telling the parable of the sheep and goats, which pictures the dividing of the saved from the unsaved at the end of the tribulation before His millennial reign.
In this parable, Jesus spoke about the final judgment. He spoke about His return as "Judge" sitting upon His throne and the gathering of all nations before Him and how they will be separated in 2 groups just as a shepherd separates His sheep from His goats. The sheep will be on His right and the goat on His left.
Jesus describes those that will inherit the kingdom as those who are "blessed of My Father."
The ones whom Jesus said are “blessed of His Father” will be those who will inherit the kingdom of God that was prepared for them before the foundation of the world.
Jesus said it is you who fed Him when He was hungry, it is you who gave Him drink when He was thirsty, it was you who took Him in when He was a stranger, it is you who clothed Him when He was naked, it was you who visited Him when He was sick and in prison.
In response to what Jesus said concerning those on his right who will inherit the kingdom, they responded to Jesus by asking Him these questions in vs# 37-39- Lord, when saw we thee hungering, and nourished thee; or thirsting, and gave thee to drink? 38 and when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in; or naked, and clothed thee? 39 and when saw we thee ill, or in prison, and came to thee?
Jesus replies in vs#40- And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
The “least of these” refers to those in needy situations. They include the hungry, thirsty, naked, poor, sick, and imprisoned.
The needy are called Christ’s “brothers”. This also reference to those that are of the household of faith. We are brothers and sisters. thus, the reference is to the household of faith also and in doing so, they were not so much serving the people, but God Himself.
Galatians 6:10-Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
In this same passage, the opposite is also mentioned of Jesus. He condemns those who saw a need and yet did not help. He says,“For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’”
As we all know, salvation comes by faith alone and not of works. Jesus is not saying that works will get us into heaven, but works is evidence of our salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The point that Jesus is making in this text is as the "righteous" of Christ, we should be eager to do what is good to help others, especially those of the household of faith.
God has always shown concern for the poor. Jesus said in John 12:8-You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
The Apostle James declares these words in James 2:14-19 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Remember that in your service to the needs of the poor and those of the household of faith, you are doing it unto the Lord.
Thank you for giving unto the Lord.