The Parable of the Sheep and Goats - Matthew 25:31-46

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 25:31-26:7

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>

The Parable of the Sheep and Goats - Matthew 25:31-46

This is the third parable challenging Jesus' disciples to a life of faithfulness as they await his return from heaven. In this parable, Jesus emphasized the importance of care and compassion for others, especially fellow Christians (cf. Gal. 6:10). Jesus taught that serving others is like serving Jesus himself (Matt. 25:40,45). See WCF 3.3, 6.6, 16.7, 33.2; WLC 27, 87, 88, 89, 90, 135, 136, 152; WSC 19, 84; BC 12, 37; HC 11, 32, 52.

Matthew 25:31

Son of Man … on his glorious throne. Throughout the Gospel Jesus has described himself as the Son of Man. This verse shows specifically that the Son of Man language refers to Jesus as King ruling with God the Father in the coming kingdom. See WLC 16, 56; BC 37.

Matthew 25:33

Sheep on right ... goats on left. In this parable Jesus was describing a final separation of people into those who are aligned with God and those who are not. Herds in Jesus' day were typically mixed between sheep and goats and there is nothing inherently bad about goats. Rather, Jesus used the typical practice of separating sheep and goats as an image for the separating of all people according to their allegiance to God's kingdom or not.

Matthew 26:1

when Jesus had finished all these words. This is the fifth and final time that Matthew has used this phrase and each time it has marked the end of one of his five major teaching blocks. In this verse he has added the word "all" to indicate that this is the end of the teaching discourses. Together these five blocks provide summary teachings for Jesus' disciple to learn and follow.

Matthew 26:2

Passover. The Passover is the most important Jewish holiday because it commemorates the most important event in Israel's history, the Exodus, when God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, formed them into a nation, and made a covenant with them. This holiday was very relevant for Jesus' final week because he was rescuing the new people of God — his followers — from bondage and bringing them into his kingdom, making a new covenant with them (Matt. 26:28).

Matthew 26:2

crucified. Three times on his way to Jerusalem Jesus predicted that he would be arrested, beaten, crucified, and raised (Matt. 16:21; 17:22; 20:18-19). Now he made clear that this was going to happen in two days. This sets the tone for this last section of Matthew and highlights the climactic point of the story. The Roman Empire killed any rebels with crucifixion, a gruesome and shameful way to die by being hung on a wooden pole.

Matthew 26:3

High priestCaiaphas. The OT law prescribed for a tribe of Israel to provide priests from the tribe of Aaron who would guide the Jewish people in proper practices and worship (Num. 18:7; 2 Chr. 19:11). During the century before Jesus the priesthood had become corrupted by its political relationship with various Gentile rulers, including the Roman Empire.

Matthew 26:4

Plotted together to arrest … and kill him. In this climactic chapter in the Gospel story the Jewish leadership will bring to completion the plan they made back in 12:14 to end Jesus' influence by killing him.

Matthew 26:7

Alabaster jar of very expensive ointment. This woman made a great sacrifice of her most valuable possession in a time of poverty. This shows her great love and trust in Jesus.

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>