Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Matthew 25:31-46

Mar 31, 2021

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” (Matthew 25:38-39)

Emma Booth-Tucker was the daughter of the founders of the Salvation Army, and she was the one who planned and oversaw the first Christmas basket distributions. It was said of her, “She never saw or heard of sorrow without wanting to assuage it; never knew of trouble but she tried to find some way to relieve it.” (1) 

One time Emma visited a thirteen-year-old boy in prison. He had committed a murder and seemed hard and unrepentant, but she felt he could be reached for God. The boy was surprised when Emma spoke to him gently, telling him that she wanted to help him. The Christmas season had just passed, and she commented that no doubt his Christmas had not been happy. She spoke to him of his family and found out that his mother had died when he was a baby. Before long, the boy was sobbing and telling her he was afraid and sorry. She encouraged the boy to pray and repent, and told him she would pray for him and also make contact with his father. She left him with a New Testament that he was hugging to himself, and with a promise to return again to see him. When he heard that, he smiled for the first time in a long while. Very possibly, Emma had been used to win a soul for the Kingdom.

Does this incident seem like a small act of kindness? Emma Booth-Tucker was living the words that Jesus stated in our focus verse. No doubt you have known of other people who have lived these words. One woman said that in the 1950s, men would knock at their door and ask for money. Her mother would fix food and let them have a picnic on the porch. She would say, “You never know when you may be entertaining angels.” Some have sewn for those who could not buy clothing, distributed food to those who lacked enough to eat, employed those who were recently converted and had been living on the streets.

What have we done? Opportunities are still available today, but are we willing to look for them and then follow through? These may be sobering questions, but someday we will stand before the Lord to be judged. We want to have done what He has commanded us to do.


The parables of the ten virgins and the talents, given by Christ in the first part of this chapter, establish the fact that He will return to earth at an unknown time. These parables also illustrate the condition He would like to find people in. Today’s text explains more fully this desired condition. 

The Bible is clear that all of mankind from every nation and from every age will have a final judgment, although everyone will not necessarily be judged at the same time. In this text, Christ is described as coming in His glory, and it will be a time of separation. In Palestine, during Jesus’ day, it was common for sheep and goats to graze together. At certain times, such as for shearing and also sometimes for protection, the animals had to be separated. Jesus compared those who serve Him to the sheep, and those who do not serve Him to the goats.

The point of this passage was not to indicate that people can be saved by their works. Good works are a result of salvation, not a road to it. However, this text shows that God takes careful note of the actions of each person, and a day of accountability is coming. The Lord wanted His followers to know that service is important. Deeds of kindness will be counted as having been done or not done for Jesus Christ himself. 

Jesus also indicated plainly that every person possesses a living soul that will have an eternal destination. There are only two destinations — eternal Heaven or eternal Hell. The preparation made in this life will determine the eternal destination.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VI.   The official presentation and rejection of the King
       D.   The prophetic announcements of the King
             3.   The development of prophetic history 
                   f.   Judgment on Gentiles (25:31-46)

A Closer Look

  1. What actions did the Lord commend?
  2. Why do you think those who were condemned neglected their Christian duties?
  3. How can we be sure we are doing what God wants us to do?


God sees all we do and records it. Let us challenge ourselves to be certain that we do all we can to please Him. 


1.    Anna Talbott McPherson, Forgotten Saints, p. 70.

Reference Materials