[Talking about the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus continued:] "He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'
"Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"
— Matthew 25:33-40 NLT
While Jesus wants us to be compassionate and caring to all people,* this passage is primarily about how we treat those the world seems to think are the least, but whom Jesus values as his disciples. The least, the last, and the left out become the primary ones who come to Jesus and find life, love, and lasting hope. Jesus' promise is that as we care for those in his community, no matter their circumstance, we are caring for him. We can actually experience Immanuel, God with us, when we care for disciples of Jesus!
O Father of all people and lover of all of your children, give me a heart of concern and compassion for those who are left out and forgotten, especially those who are your disciples and are abandoned by the world. Please give me courage to identify with not only those who the world shuns and shames, but also those the world persecutes and ridicules. Father, give me a heart like Jesus for the people who most depend upon him. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.