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.’ – Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. – Matthew 25:40 (KJV)
Click here for printable verse cards: week-42-printable-cards
Theme: Giving and Stewardship
The context of this verse is important. Jesus is describing the time when He, the Son of Man, will return (see verses 31-34). He will sit on His throne and separate the righteous from those who are “cursed.” He will then welcome the righteous into eternal life in His kingdom and send the unrighteous away “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (verses 34 & 41).
As Jesus describes the actions of the righteous, He says…
“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, 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.” – Matthew 25: 35-36
He then completes the thought with our verse for this week, saying that when these actions were done “for the least of these,” they were also done for Jesus Himself.
There’s some debate about exactly who Jesus was referring to with the phrase “the least of these.” Some think He was referring to the poor and others in need. Others believe He was referring to His followers (I think this is the majority view among Bible scholars). In the context of our theme for this week—giving and stewardship—the exact meaning of “the least of these” is not important. Either way, Jesus rewarded those who were generous to and took care of those in need and rejected those who turned their back to them. He expects us to share our blessings and help those in need.