|Volume 24 Number 6 June 2022
Gary C. Hampton
Jesus told three parables in Matthew 25 regarding the end of the world. The last is often called the Parable of the Judgment, though the Lord gave it no name. He depicted Himself on His glorious throne with all nations gathered before Him. He said that He will then divide all of humanity into two groups. The group on His right hand, which is the hand of power, will hear him say, “…Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34 NKJV).
Then, Jesus listed six separate acts of service done for others as the reason those on the right hand will be invited (Matthew 25:35-36). McGarvey says, “The acts here enumerated indicate more than a mere outlay of money. They are not such as are the offspring of impulse, but such as call for the sacrifice of time, strength, sympathy, etc., and clearly demonstrate the fullness of the Christian life” (639).
True love for the brethren, without which one cannot claim to love God, will motivate one to act on behalf of those beloved brethren. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18). Only an active, loving faith is truly alive (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Jesus said those bidden to enter asked when they ever saw the Lord in such situations and helped Him. He replied, “…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). This explains the Lord’s question to Saul as to why he persecuted Him (Acts 9:4). Jesus so closely identifies with the members of His body that to hurt or to help them is to do the same to Him. May God help us to seize every opportunity to help those in need, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.
McGarvey, J.W. and Philip Y. Pendleton. The Fourfold Gospel or A Harmony of the Four Gospels. Cincinnati: Standard P., n.d.
God Has a Symphony
We define the word “symphony” as an intricate composition of music. I imagine that diverse parts are coordinated into a whole and fit the composer’s design. We get our word “symphony” from the Greek word symphonia. It’s a compound word, and the two parts mean “together” “sound.” It’s not the case that every word that looks like a similar English word has a similar meaning. Nor is it the case that every word’s meaning is like the parts of the word that make it up. Though, this is what symphonia does.
Two hundred and fifty years before Jesus was born, the Septuagint used this word in Daniel 3 to describe the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre and psaltery together “in symphony” (vs. 5, 7, 10, 15). The usage of the word didn’t change much in the next two and a half centuries. In Luke 15, Jesus’ description of the celebration of the return of the prodigal son described the older brother drawing near and hearing “music.” Using this word picture, we have a vivid illustration of how inspiration works. When the addition of Gentiles to the church was a point of sharp contention, there was a meeting in Jerusalem to discuss the matter. The simple, yet important, decision was that the Scriptures taught it was always in God’s plan for the Gentiles to be part of the church. Before elaborating with Old Testament Scripture, James began his case explaining, “…with this the words of the prophets agree…” (Acts 15:15 NKJV).
“Agree” is translated from a word related to “symphony.” “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God…” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Inspiration” is a compound word meaning “God-breathed.” From the beginning of time, God has sounded through his instruments – the prophets. They each, with their distinct voices, contributed parts to the chorus. At the time of their performance, the speakers did not often know how their part would fit into the whole (1 Peter 1:10-12). They were ridiculed – even killed – for their seemingly misplaced roles (Matthew 5:11, 12; 23:29-32). As the Composer and Director designed, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). The crescendo of our Father’s piece came into immaculate harmony as Jesus bore the sins of all mankind, defeated death and ascended to sit on His throne. The main symphony He composed can be seen blended together in the pages of His Word today, having been spoken and written just as He moved His servants to speak and write. Are you listening?