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separating the sheep and the goat
by Claire Maraillet
10/03/11
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In Matthew 25: 31-46, we learn that the sheep are the Christians, whoever pleased God and faithfully sincerely served him, and the goats are those who didn’t believe in God and/or despised him. Whoever helped / loved / gave to others in need, in a way helped / loved / gave to Jesus. Whoever didn’t do those things, in a way, rejected the Lord.

Jesus chose those two animals for a reason: 1) he chose animals people of his time could easily relate to (worth in the world, meaning) and 2) he challenges a different thinking from society’s. God chooses the weak to confuse the strong (2 cor 1:27), and this is what Jesus is showing here. In the world today, we would think the sheep is docile and stupid while the goat is seemingly looking more independent and smarter; and we would prefer to belong to the goat’s family, wouldn’t we? Well, God prefers the sheep, for other reasons than these.

What makes us sheep and how can it be good? First, in my opinion, because of the ownership that is part of the characteristics of a sheep: brought from Satan by Jesus’ blood, we are indeed owned by God. The same way a flock of sheep belong to their shepherd, guiding and taking care of them, we belong to God (Ps 23). If there is someone to “belong to”, I personally prefer my belonging to God rather than Satan. Second are all the qualities of a good sheep: not aggressive, innocent, gentle and quiet. A sheep is easily trained and taught, more trusting of others, loves. Like the sheep, we recognize we may wander off track and we need someone to help us find our way. We also have poor vision (of the future, that is), our knowledge and judgment are limited and we are vulnerable. This world, governed by Satan tells us these characteristics are faults; but with Jesus, those “faults” are in fact qualities, that help us live freely and at peace in spite of Satan. Thanks to God, present as our shepherd, caring for us and protecting us. The sheep seems weaker than the goat, but it is made stronger than the goat because it recognizes its weaknesses and trusts its shepherd. We, as sheep, recognize our need for our Savior, and therefore through his teachings and guidance, the weak is made strong. (Joel 3:10).

Separating one from the other would mean to give each the judgment it will deserve on judgment day: the sheep will be blessed (eternal life) while the goat will be punished (eternal death).

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