Mt25:35a - when I was hungry

Mt25:35b - when I was thirsty

Mt25:34c - when I was a stranger

Mt25:35a - when I was naked

Mt25:35b - when I was sick

Mt25:35c - when I was in prison

Mark 2:1-12 Healing of the sins of the paralytic

Our biggest need.

A series of articles exploring teachings from the Good News as reavealed by God in His Word to us.

Did Jesus teach a social welfare Gospel?

"Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me."
I remember singing that quote from the song "Whatsoever you do" many times when I was young. The song was based upon Mt25:34-40. Without exception, I believed that this song as well as these verses were urging us to look out for the physical needs of our fellow man. I'd assume that most people believe that is what these verses are speaking about. While I still believe that these verses may speak toward us looking out for our Christian brother's physical needs, I believe the far deeper meaning manifests itself when the verses are looked at spiritually. The verses are teaching us to look after far greater spiritual need of our fellow man.

Matthew 25
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Matthew 25:36 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.
Matthew 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?
Matthew 25:38 When did we see you a stranger, and take you in? or naked, and clothed you?
Matthew 25:39 Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came unto you?
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, truly I say unto you, In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me.


Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat:
All of the following verses do not speak of physically feeding someone with physical food. But rather, they speak of feeding a person with spiritual food... which is to feed them with the Gospel: or the Word of God:
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. - I don't believe that Jesus is speaking of being filled with food, but rather righteousness.
Luke 1:53 He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent empty away. - Jesus is speaking of filling those hungry for spiritual good things... not necessarily food.
<John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. - Jesus is speaking of spiritual food here.
John 21:17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Do you love me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep. - Did Jesus want Peter to feed His sheep with physical food? Peter did not have the physical resources to physically feed all of Jesus' sheep (people). Peter had the Gospel and fed people the Word of God.
Romans 12:20 Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. - I believe that Paul is teaching here about feeding your enemy the Gospel and then if the enemy rejects the Gospel, he will suffer for it by ending up in Hell where his rejection will be as if heaps of coal were being heaped upon his head.
Acts 20:28 Therefore, take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood. - again, Paul is admonishing the elders at the church of Ephesus to feed the people the Gospel.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the day will come, says the Lord GOD, when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
Amos 8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
- as can be seen in this passage, the Word of God is compared with food. Except, the Word of God is infinitely more important than food. Not that food is not important, but spiritual food is much more so as it is eternal; physical food only lasts for this lifetime.
Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds; Woe to the shepherds of Israel that feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
Ezekiel 34:3 You eat the fat, and you cloth yourselves with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you do not feed the flock.

I believe that Jesus was speaking of feeding those who are spiritually hungry and not necessarily those who are physically hungry. How else would we be able to reconcile what God commanded in Thessalonians II 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this, that if anyone would not work, neither should he eat.
It is seen plainly here that those who are lazy and don't work should not expect to eat. I have no problem feeding a brother who is in need, but if a brother is hungry as a result of his own laziness, based upon the above verse, he should not eat.

For those of us who call ourselves Christians, if we neglect to feed those who hunger for spiritual food (the Gospel), then we are in danger of ending up with the goats on the left hand according to:
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


Matthew 25:35b ... I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: ...
Just as the above verses spoke of a spiritual hunger, the following verses speak of a spiritual thirst and of water (spiritual water) that has a meaning other than physical water. I believe that in Mt25:35, Jesus is teaching that we are to give the Gospel to people who are spiritually thirsty:
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again:
John 4:14 But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 7:38 He that believes on me, as the scripture says, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.)
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.
Corinthians I 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Peter II 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. - these are people without the Holy Spirit or the true Gospel. These are not literally clouds or wells that don't have water. The language is parabolic in nature.
Jude 1:12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about by the winds; trees whose fruit withered, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Psalms 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
Psalms 63:2 To see your power and your glory, so as I have seen you in the sanctuary.
Psalms 143:6 I stretch forth my hands unto you: my soul thirsts after you, as a thirsty land.
Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form or majesty; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him - Jesus came from a spiritually dry nation at the time He came into the world.
Psalms 42:1 To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah. As the heart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after you, O God.
Psalms 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon your children, and my blessing upon your offspring:
Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Ezekiel 16:9 Then washed I you with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil.
Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;


Matthew 25:35c ...I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Strangers from God are considered those in need of salvation. They do not know God and are in danger of Hell. For without Christ, they will perish. These strangers are in need of hearing the Gospel. This is why I believe that this verse is directly pointing toward the Christian's duty to spread the Gospel as opportunity permits. Below are a few places in the Scriptures where strangers are considered strangers from God in a spiritual matter rather than someone being an unknown person to you or I:
Ephesians 2:12 That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;


Matthew 25:36a Naked, and you clothed me:
Spiritual nakedness is to not have a covering for one's sins. And how does one obtain a covering for their sins? Why, they obtain it through faith in Christ. That is the only way our sins can be covered so that they are no longer an offence to an all holy God who will not allow sin in the full glory of His presence in Heaven. The following verses speak of spiritual clothes and nakedness. While our brother's physical clothing certainly is necessary, however, his spiritual clothing is much more important as it has eternal consequences.
Corinthians II 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Corinthians II 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
Corinthians II 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
Corinthians II 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and do you not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: - spiritually naked... not physically since they considered themselves rich.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white apparel; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. - spiritually clothed to cover their sins.
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Matthew 22:11 And when the king [the Lord] came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which did not have a wedding garment on: - a spiritual covering for his sins.
Matthew 22:12 And he said unto him, Friend, how did you come in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. - he had no covering for his sins so he could not stand in the full glory of God in Heaven where the wedding feast takes place at the end of the world.
Revelation 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Ezekiel 16:8 Now when I passed by you, and looked upon you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I swore unto you, and entered into a covenant with you, said the Lord GOD, and you became mine.
Ezekiel 16:10 I clothed you also with broidered work, and shod you with badgers' skin, and I girded you about with fine linen, and I covered you with silk.
Zechariah 3:4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will cloth you with change of apparel.


Matthew 25:36b I was sick, and you visited me:
Our most grievous sickness is our spiritual sickness caused by our sins. It is more grievous than cancer or the like. The suffering from cancer will last a relatively few short years as opposed to the suffering for eternity because of sin. It is not my intention to belittle cancer or any other serious sickness; these people need the best care that we can physically give them. We should also visit those loved ones who suffer so much from these illnesses to give as much support and comfort as we can. However, when Jesus spoke these words, I believe that He was speaking primarily of sin sickness. Jesus is the only one who can heal us from sin sickness. People will go to Jesus only if they have heard of Jesus. People hear about Jesus by those who bring the Gospel to them. Those who have the Gospel visit those who are sick and through the Gospel, God works on a person's soul and heals that person. Perhaps some Scripture will illustrate how sickness is often referred to as spiritual sickness from our sins:

Psalms 41:4 I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.

Isaiah 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
Isaiah 1:5 Why should you be stricken anymore? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
Isaiah 1:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. - Israel was spiritually sick from their sins.

Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
Ezekiel 34:3 you eat the fat, and you cloth you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you do not feed the flock.
Ezekiel 34:4 The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them.

Ezekiel 34:15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Psalms 6:2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are troubled.
Psalms 6:3 My soul is also so troubled: but you, O LORD, how long?

Psalms 30:2 O LORD my God, I cried unto you, and you have healed me.
Psalms 30:3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from the grave: you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Psalms 41:4 I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.

Psalms 107:19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saves them out of their distresses.
Psalms 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Psalms 107:21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Psalms 147:3 He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.

Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise.


Matthew 25:36c I was in prison, and you came unto me.
Those who are in prison have usually done something to belong there. Perhaps many prisoners should be visited by us, perhaps many don't want to be. It seems to me that the prisoners that Jesus is speaking of here is more likely prisoners of sin. We are all prisoners of our own sin unless Jesus sets us free. And God works through His Gospel to bring us to Jesus. We are therefore called to bring the Gospel to prisoners of sin. The Scriptures have much to say about those who are imprisoned by sin:

Isaiah 61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
Isaiah 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory I will not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Psalms 146:7 Which executes judgment for the oppressed: which gives food to the hungry. The LORD looses the prisoners:
Psalms 146:8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind: the LORD raises them that are bowed down: the LORD loves the righteous:
Psalms 146:9 The LORD preserves the strangers; he relieves the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
Psalms 146:10 The LORD shall reign forever, even your God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise you the LORD.

Psalms 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise your name: the righteous shall surround me; for you shall deal bountifully with me.

Timothy II 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.


Mark 2:1-12 Healing of the sins of the paralytic
The first half of Mark 2 is the story of 4 men removing a roof from a home that Jesus was at during that time and letting a paralytic down through the roof. Jesus had compassion on the paralytic and forgave him his sins. He did not immediately heal him physically, but first addressed his more critical need of spiritual healing.
Mar 2:5 And Jesus seeing their faith *said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
It was only after He healed him spiritually did He heal his physical need. And the text indicates that the reason that He healed him physically was because He was proving to the Jews that He had the power to forgive sins.
Mar 2:8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, *said to them, "Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?
Mar 2:9 "Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'?
Mar 2:10 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--He *said to the paralytic,
Mar 2:11 "I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home."
Mar 2:12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

Our biggest need.
The first and most important need was for forgiveness of sins as that has eternal consequences, not just consequences in this life. Jesus easily had the power to heal all who were sick at the time He lived on earth but did not. In at least this case, He healed to demonstrate that He could provide a healing that is far more important. His physical healing of people was only a shadow of the real healing that only He can provide.


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