What’s the difference between the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46? How they treated his brothers, that is his disciples. Mercy is the difference Jesus focuses on.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 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 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 welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’……‘Truly, I say to you, 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 eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
What Are Ministries of Mercy?
And what are ministries of mercy? Of course, in one sense all true ministry is mercy. None of us deserves anything good. But we are using the term “ministries of mercy” for practical, Christ-dependent, Christ-exalting steps to relieve suffering now and forever through Christ, especially among those who have the fewest resources.
The word mercy is meant to point us with compassion to people’s felt miseries. We know that it is merciful to point a rich person to Christ as his true treasure. We must do that. Yes. Amen. But we are not using the term “ministries of mercy” for Bible studies among the well-to-do. We are using it, for the sake of clarity, to refer to practical relief and ongoing help for those who are suffering and have little that they can do about it without help. And we don’t mean to limit that to the urban core of our cities. That can be very rural and sometimes very suburban. The key thing about mercy ministries is that they are a response to conscious misery or suffering.