Matthew 25:32-34, 41, “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’ … Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”
Did you know that in biblical times sheep and goats were almost indistinguishable in appearance? Only shepherds could typically look among the throngs of these animals and recognize their flock. Surprising, isn’t it? In our experience, they are easily distinguishable due to specialized breeding. But outwardly similar or not, they’re very different animals. Sheep aren’t intelligent creatures; they need a shepherd’s guidance to survive the elements. Conversely, goats are highly independent, unruly, and even downright destructive. In fact, the job of a goatherd isn’t to keep the goats from harm, but to follow them prevent them from causing it!
So, what’s the point in all this? On the day Jesus returns, He will first separate all people into two categories: sheep and goats. Although they may be similar in appearance within the herd, only the Shepherd can distinguish His flock. The sheep, those who have a personal relationship with the Savior, will move on to eternal life. But to the goats, He will say, “Depart from Me” and spend eternity in a terrifying place of utter isolation and doom — yikes!
It’s important to mention that many “goats” think they’re sheep and will be greatly surprised on that day. They will say, “But we were good people, we didn’t seek to harm others….” But did they love God and protect the unity of His people? Did they desire to obey the Lord and live according to His will? No! That’s why Jesus said, “What you didn’t do for the least of these you didn’t do for Me.”
So, here’s the critical question: Are you sure you’re a sheep? Or, like a goat, are you still trying to do life by your own will and way? If so, decide today to truly invite the Good Shepherd into your heart and submit to His Lordship. Don’t hesitate because we’ll never know the day or hour of His return.
Sheep, be watchful! Love and care for one another as you seek to please Christ in all you do!
Heavenly Father, I am want to be among Your sheep on the day Jesus returns. Help me turn from my sin and pride towards the life of purpose and hope that’s only found in You. Amen.