When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 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 take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, 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, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
This parable shows two different groups of people at the day of judgement.
NOTE: Both groups seem surprised at the Lord’s comments to them.
The sheep did not really recognize that they had been serving Christ when they ministered to the sick, the lonely, those in jail and in the hospital. They had not done their good deeds to others for a reward. They had simply served others out of their love for Christ – not because it was the right thing to do – but because it was the natural thing – the thing that sheep do. It flowed from their very nature – the nature of Christ within them.
The goats did not really recognize that they had not been serving Christ when they ignored the needs of the sick, the lonely, the hurting. They had simply been too busy with their own needs and desires, oblivious to the needs around them. They did this because it was the natural thing for goats to do. It flowed from their very nature – the nature of sinful man within them.