Jesus Played the Fiddle, and he played it for me.
This message is saved until the last. He must want this point imprinted on our conscience. He depicted the final judgment scene. The last day, the great Day of Judgment. On that day Jesus will issue an irresistible command.
All will come.
From sunken ships and forgotten cemeteries
they will come.
From Royal tombs and grassy battlefields
they will come
From Able, the first to die,
to the person being buried at the moment
every human in history will be present.
All the Angels will be present.
The whole heavenly universe will witness the event.
A staggering denouncement.
Jesus at some point will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats Matthew 25:32.
Shepherds do this. They walk among the flock and, one by one, with the use of a staff direct goats in one direction and sheep in the other.
Graphic, this thought of the good Shepherd stepping through the flock of humanity. You. Me. Our parents and kids. Bill, go this way. Joey, over there. Jan, this side.
How can one envision this moment without the sudden appearance of this urgent question:
What determines his choice?
How does Jesus separate the people?
Jesus gives the answer. Those on the right, the sheep, will be those who fed Him when He was hungry, brought Him water when He was thirsty, gave Him lodging when He was lonely, clothing when He was naked, and comfort when He was sick or in prison. The sign of the saved is their concern for those in need. Compassion does not save them–or us. Salvation is the work of Christ. Compassion is the consequence of salvation.
The sheep will react with a sincere question:
When? When did we feed, visit, clothe, or comfort You versus 34 through 39?
Jesus’ answer will sound something like this. Remember when you got off the subway? It was a wintry Washington morning. Commuters were bundled and busy and focused on their work. You were, too, mind you. But then you saw Me. Yes, that was Me standing between the coffee kiosk in the newsstand that was Me. I was wearing a baseball cap and a scarf and playing a fiddle. The mob rushed past as if I were a plastic plant. But you stopped. I knew you were busy. You looked at your watch twice. But still you stopped and remembered Me. You stepped over to the coffee stand, bought Me a cup, and brought it over. I want you to know I never forgot that.
Then the King will say to those on HIS right, come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom 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 home. I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me. Matthew 25:34 -36.
Jesus will recount, one by one, all the acts of kindness. Every deed done to improve the lot of another person. Even the small ones. In fact, they all seem small. Giving water. Offering food. Sharing clothing. As the first century mystic, Chrysostom pointed out, we do not hear, I was sick and you healed me, or I was imprisoned in your liberated me. The works of mercy are simple deeds. And yet in the simple deeds, we serve Jesus. Astounding, this truth: we serve Jesus by serving needy people.
The Jerusalem church understood this. How else can we explain their explosion across the world? We’ve only considered a handful of their stories. What began on Pentecost, with the 120 disciples spilled into every corner of the world. Antioch. Corinth. Ephesus. Rome. The book of acts, unlike other New Testament books has no conclusion. That’s because the work has not been finished.
What about those on the left???
Did Jesus play the fiddle for them, too?