Listened to a great talk from the Leprosy Mission today.
Matthew 25:36 (NIV)
I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
The imagery in this passage is quite stark.
Matthew 25:32 (NIV)
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.
Righteous = sheep
Unrighteousness = goats
Jesus is saying come with me and take place in the place I have prepared.
How do we spot the righteous?
Our commitment to Jesus is measured though our deeds. Our faith should drive us to care for those in need.
Where is our need? Is it local, in our street? In our town? In our country or to all ends of the world?
The righteous ask?
Matthew 25:37-39 (NIV)
"Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
When we go and help and give to those in need we are serving Him.
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
"The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Jesus had particular empathy with different groups, the prostitutes, the people affected by leprosy.
Why did Jesus have particular empathy with those people affected by leprosy? These are outcasts, with a terrible stigma. When people have leprosy they are outcasts and this is against the very being of God.
They were not allowed to mix, lots of rules, a massive stigma.
Matthew 26:6 (NIV)
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper,
Simon could not have been contagious, he had been cured of the leprosy. The stigma of the disease still remained.
Today the stigma still remains. The disease is not highly contagious. 95% of the population are naturally immune. There are effective drug treatments and with 48 hours the disease can be removed.
Leprosy can cause long term physical problems and add to the stigma.
Today people still can not marry, own houses, work etc.
It is a gross social injustice.
The work of TLM is helping repeal some of the outdated laws relating to the stigma of leprosy.