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An essay donated by Alton C. Thompson:

"Updating the New Testament"

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I find Job 29:11 – 17 to be the passage in the “Old Testament” that most “grabs” me. In the “New Testament there are two: John 8:1 – 11 and Matthew 25:31 – 45.

However, I believe that an updating of the passage in Matthew is needed. What follows is my effort to do that:

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Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

32 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.

33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was ahungry gay person and you gave me something to eat, I was a thirsty woman who had had an abortion and you gave me something to drink, I was a homeless stranger and you invited me in, 36 I was a Latino who needed clothes and you clothed me, I was a black sick man and you looked after me, I was a man in prison who had been neglected and abused as a child and you came to visit me.’

These get repeated three more times, but I will let you do that!

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 When did we see you, a stranger, and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink.

43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

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The above updating was inspired by the following comment by "thylacine" on the Asexual Visibility & Education Network in 2014:

"My favorite story about Jesus is not from the Bible. It's actually a European folktale about how Jesus disguised Himself as a beggar to walk among the people and see how people would treat Him. Jesus goes around the village, knocking on doors, saying He is a poor beggar, and asks if he can have something to eat. Most people just slam the door on Him. I heard this story as a kid and even as a grown up I sometimes see street people who were asking for change and half sort of wonder if they might be Jesus... When you think of it, that is, if you believe in Jesus, then Jesus could be anybody.

Jesus could be the homeless person sleeping on a park bench. Jesus could be the old bag lady that wanders the neighborhood pushing a grocery cart filled with everything she owns. Jesus could be the kid in school that everyone beats up because he's not cool. Jesus could even be the stray dog that people throw rocks at. Jesus might be one of society's misfits that some fundamentalist preachers blame for all of society's problems."

In the city where I work, there are a lot of homeless people. Sometimes I give them Dunkin Donuts gift cards, enough to buy coffee and a donut. They might buy drugs if I give them cash.

There is also shuffling down the streets an elderly man with a bent over back and who drops his cane sometimes. He can't reach for it too well, so I pick it up for him, when I see him drop it.

There is this lady who comes at me raving, "They took out my liver, now I can't have no babies! Can I have two dollars?" I gave her a dollar, and told her she could get the other dollar from someone else, because that's all I had with me then...

I dunno. Maybe some of those people are Jesus, too? Maybe if we look around, maybe we can see Jesus everywhere.

Try to imagine this: Everyone in your country -- “Christian” or not -- when seeing or learning of others in need, saw that person as Jesus in disguise. Were that the case, your society would be a far better place to live in than it is!

Is this likely to occur? The “stumbling block” here is that being rich tends to make one “selfish and stingy”! Thus, so long as we live in a society that is highly inegalitarian, we will continue to be the rotten society that we are!

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Some related essays and sections on this web site that may interest you:

The following information sources discuss topics related to the above essay.

  1. Important Christian themes and beliefs: Who are saved and who are not?"

  2. Jesus -- what did he seem to teach about salvation? in Matthew 25 & Mark 10: Part 1 Â Part 2 Â Part 3

  3. Alternate explanations for Matthew 25

  4. The Ethic of Reciprocity, a.k.a. The Golden Rule

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Alton C. Thompson
Originally posted on: 2018-MAR-07

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