Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Matthew 25:31-46 Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
This text comes at the end of the fifth and final extended teaching of Jesus in Matthew, a discourse focused on the end of the age and the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24-25).
This final discourse comes in response to the questions of the disciples: “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (24:3). Jesus has spoken of signs on earth and in the heavens (24:4-35), but he has also said that no one knows the day or the hour, “neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (24:36). Repeatedly, he has emphasized that his disciples must remain vigilant; they must be ready for his return at any moment (24:36-25:13).
One thing that is certain, according to Jesus, is that the Son of Man will come in glory to judge the nations. The image of the Son of Man coming in glory reflects the language Daniel 7:13-14, which speaks of one “like a human being” coming with the clouds of heaven, who is presented to the “Ancient of Days” and is given dominion, glory, and kingship. The Son of Man imagery appears frequently in Jewish apocalyptic literature, and Jesus ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 357: Last Judgment
April 07, 2019
Podcast on Matthew 25:31-46, the Narrative Lectionary readings for April 7, 2019 (Last Judgment) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.