“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25:31-33 NIV
According to the American Kennel Club, there are seven different groups of dogs. First is the Sporting Group created to assist hunters. The Hound group includes beagles; the working group is described as those who pull sleds, rescue, guard and protect. The terrier group, toy group, non-sporting group and the herding group complete the list. Purebred dogs belong to one of these categories and are placed in the group for which they were bred.
Shepherds separate their flock into groups, too. The sheep and the goats are split into two groups. Sheep follow their shepherd and depend on him for everything they need. They trust him and know his voice and follow. If they become lost they get nervous until the shepherd comes to rescue them. Goats are stubborn and self-reliant. They can do it themselves and don’t need anyone but a goat to lead them.
Jesus uses this illustration to show us the difference between his followers. Those that are part of his flock will be placed on his right hand. The believers who know him and hear and heed his voice will be at his right side. The stubborn unbelievers who can do it themselves and depend on their own righteousness will be placed on his left.
Jesus goes further to show the difference between the two groups. He says that the sheep helped others in His name. They showed kindness to him by showing kindness to those in need. The goats did nothing for others. They were self-centered.
Jesus shows that the separation will go even further in this parable. The sheep on his right hand are told to come with him into the kingdom of his heavenly father. The goats are told to depart from his presence into the eternal hell prepared for the devil and his angels. Satan chose to leave heaven and exalt himself instead of serving God and now the goats will dwell with him.
Jesus loved us so much that he died on the cross. He suffered and rose again that we might know God and spend eternity with him. God exalted Jesus to his right hand and as we follow and depend on Jesus for our salvation, he exalts us to his right side. He invites us into the eternal heavenly kingdom he has prepared for those who love him. I’m excited! How about you?