Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 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. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “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. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “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. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Main Point: Faith should influence our actions, and one of those ways that should happen is through how we treat others. It is through our actions, especially our actions to the least of these, that we declare we are on "team Jesus."
Learning Game: The Resistance (30 minutes)
The Resistance is a game of hidden roles and intrigue designed by Don Eskrdige and published by Indie Boards and Cards. The game is fairly inexpensive and can be found at any game hobby store. Each copy of the game plays between five and ten people. In this game everyone is a member of the "resistance" fighting an evil regime. However, this regime is so evil they have infiltrated the resistance with spies. The resistance will try to successfully complete missions, while the spies seek to sabotage them. The spies know each other, but the loyal resistance members do not know who the spies are. In order to win they have to figure it out. If three missions are completed the good resistance wins, if three missions are sabotaged first then the evil spies win.
Game Debrief(5 minutes)
Use the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. In the game, were you able to discern who was good and who was bad?
2. What were some of the factors that made it hard to figure out who was who?
3. Do you consider yourself a good judge of character? What are the factors you use to evaluate someone’s character?
Word Discussion (30 minutes)
Explain that there is a scripture that speaks about how Jesus will judge people’s character. To give a greater context, also share the following details about the scripture:
* Jesus spent the last week of his life in Jerusalem for the Passover festival, we call that Holy week.
*On Monday and Tuesday of that week, Jesus went to the temple and he taught. Matthew records a lot of these teachings of Jesus, and this scripture is the end of what Matthew records Jesus teaching at the temple during Holy Week.
* Throughout his ministry Jesus eludes to his divine heritage and nature, but here he states it clearly. He says that he will be the one who judges people at the end of time.
Read Matthew 25:31-46. Use the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. In this sheep and goat analogy, who are the sheep and who are the goats?
2. What is the standard that Jesus used to determine who was a sheep and who was a goat?
Facilitator Instructions: One of the things that should be pointed out is that the difference between the sheep and goats is more complex than people who go to church and people who do not. Both the sheep and the goats called Jesus “Lord”. Furthermore, in Jesus day the sheep and the goats would graze together and only be separated at night. Thus the “sheep and the goats” both “belonged” to Jesus. Jesus is sorting out the people who claim to follow him.
This is an ideal place to tie back to the experience of the game that was played. In the game people had all kinds of different strategies to determine who was on their team. People might say one thing, but their actions portrayed their true allegiance. Jesus will sort the people who proclaim to follow him based on what they do and not what they say. Specifically it should be pointed out that the sheep entered into God’s kingdom not because of how worthy of reward their actions were. Rather it is because their actions reflected a lifestyle that is in right relationship with God. This scripture finely illustrates a bit of a grace paradox in that we are “saved by faith alone”, but “faith without works is dead.”
3. Why do you think Jesus is so concerned with the care of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, and imprisoned?
4. How likely are you to spontaneously help people? Are you comfortable with that level?
Facilitator Instructions: A large part of the Bible is dedicated to teaching God’s people to care for the people that cannot care for themselves. It is clear that God cares for ALL people, and it is part of God’s plan to use his people to care for those who need it.
For question #4 a good follow up is what leads them to possibly help people.
5. Jesus talked about helping the least of these. Who do you consider the least of these today?
6. What can you do to help the least of these today?
Facilitator Instructions: The least of these that Jesus referred to were the poorest of the poor who have little to provide for themselves and no one to look out for them. Help the youth identify what people fit in those areas today.
7. What does this teach us about being a Christian and following Jesus?
Facilitator Instruction: Simply put, this teaches us that to serve Jesus we must serve others. Putting others first is a vital part in being obedient to Jesus and our actions as followers of Christ matter.