I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
How many times have you read this verse, or had it taught to you? How many sermons have you heard which used this scripture?
I've heard and read this, many times. I usually get the same moral out of it: we are to regard the less-fortunate among us as if they were Jesus Himself. When we read this scripture, it's supposed to remind us that we are to be sensitive to the lowly; generous to the poor; sympathetic to the downtrodden.
But wait...if you really think about it...we are to regard the less-fortunate among us as if they were Jesus Himself?
Sure, you can take that as a sort of "symbolic" lesson. But really, is that how Jesus means it? Or does He mean it to be a literal commandment for you to care for the homeless man at the subway...the neighbor who has cancer...the mentally impaired boy at the bowling alley...the relative who is poor and needy...the sex slave in Thailand...the orphan in Africa...as if they were God Himself?
If you saw Jesus the Christ, the God and Savior of the world, in need and begging on a street corner, filthy and hungry...what wouldn't you do for Him?
What if He means it literally?