Wednesday Word: New Creation
Matthew 25:31-46 New Creation
This section of Matthew’s Gospel, like many others, offers us an either-or, right way, or wrong way, to follow Christ and his example. As Christians, following Christ is the only way. During this Gospel writer’s time, many events may suggest his motives for the weeping or ‘Woes’, and the Son of Man coming on the clouds as a form of apocalypticism. Apocalypticism means that Jesus is on his way now, and we better be prepared for the coming of the Lord. I suspect the writer’s dire words are due to the conditions of the fallen Temple and the attempt to overthrow Roman Rule. Besides, the 50 years when Jesus died and rose from the dead was behind them and he wasn’t the King that was promised, but the reconciler and redeemer of the poor, oppressed, sinners, and tax collectors. Jesus healed the sick and said he came not to abolish, but to fulfill the law and the prophets.
Matthew’s writing is about reminding these fledgling believers what the right way is all about, after the beauty of the resurrection and the newly forming community of Jewish Christians. He is looking back to a time when we were made new creations in the life, death, and resurrection of the Anointed One while living in pretty frightening times.
I sense the whole argument parallels what is transpiring today. We, too, look back to experience the living Word. We, too, are not fulfilling our side of the obligation, and today we live in a troubling time. We desire a Savior who will squelch the virus, heal our privilege, and remind us we are new creations because of the action on the Cross and God’s raising the Son to show the strength of the Divine merciful arm. Likely, we will find ourselves at several crossroads during our current environment. How do we react to the homeless? How do we feed the hungry? How will we be salt and light to the oppressed, lonely and sick? These are my own questions every day.
Matthew’s Gospel is a way to find the Messiah that is for all. Matthew’s Gospel tries to convince the scribes and the Pharisees; it’s not just the law, but the Spirit of the law, mercy, love, compassion, and forgiveness. This Spirit of mercy, love, compassion, and forgiveness coupled with the Cross; guides our way, to help us chose at the crossroads toward the Kingdom of Heaven, now and not yet. The apocalyptic words of the writer may be a warning to some to turn around and repent; to others, it may be the time to look to the sky to wait and see the Son of Man coming down from the clouds.
My take is stark words for a stark time. Walking with Jesus is never without trouble, but it is always worth it in the long run. Righteous, as we are a new creation, we are bound to love our neighbor as ourselves. Whether Jesus comes down and sweeps us up, or we turn our hearts towards his healing power, we rarely get the whole picture of God’s love. We know from the past, God is there holding us, the Spirit is igniting our hearts, and Christ is there to show the way to walk in righteousness.
- Deacon Sue