Rewards and retribution

“When the Son of Man comes in glory,” said Jesus, “and all the angels are there, then he’ll sit on his glorious throne and all the nations will be brought before him. Then he’ll separate the people in exactly the same way as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He’ll move the sheep to his right hand and the goats to his left.

“Then the King will say to the people on the right, ‘Come, you who’ve been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom which was prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; I needed clothes and you gave them to me; I was ill and you nursed me; I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then these honourable people will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and gave you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and we gave some to you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and we went to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I assure you, whatever you did to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.’

“Then the King will turn to the people on the left and say, ‘Go away, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his agents. For I was hungry and you didn’t feed me; I was thirsty and you didn’t give me a drink; I was a stranger and you didn’t invite me into your homes; I needed clothes and you didn’t give me any; I was ill and in prison, and you failed to help me.’

“Then they will say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and fail to help you?’

“And he’ll answer, ‘I assure you, whenever you refused to help the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you failed to help me.’

“Then they’ll be taken away to eternal punishment, but the honourable will be taken away to eternal life.”

Matthew

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