Matthew 25:36
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
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(36) Ye visited me.—The Greek word is somewhat stronger than the modern meaning of the English, and includes “looking after,” “caring for.” The verb is formed from the same root as Episcopos, the bishop, or overseer of the Church.

25:31-46 This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.I was an hungered - The union between Christ and his people is the most tender and endearing of all connections. It is represented by the closest unions of which we have knowledge, John 15:4-6; Ephesians 5:23-32; 1 Corinthians 6:15. This is a union - not physical, but moral; a union of feelings, interests, plans, destiny; or, in other words, he and his people have similar feelings, love the same objects, share the same trials, and inherit the same blessedness, John 14:19; Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:21; Romans 8:17. Hence, he considers favors shown to his people as shown to himself, and will reward them accordingly, Matthew 10:40, Matthew 10:42. They show attachment to him, and love to his cause. By showing kindness to the poor, the needy, and the sick, they show that they possess his spirit, for he did it when on earth; they evince attachment to him, for he was poor and needy; and they show that they have the proper spirit to outfit them for heaven, 1 John 3:14, 1 John 3:17; James 2:1-5; Mark 9:41.

Was a stranger - The word "stranger" means a foreigner or traveler; in our language, one unknown to us. To receive such to the rites of hospitality was, in Eastern countries, where there were few or no public houses, a great virtue. See Genesis 18:1-8; Hebrews 8:2.

Took me in - Into your house. Received me kindly.

Naked - Poorly clothed. Among the Jews they were called "naked" who were clad in poor raiment, or who had on only the "tunic" or inner garment, without any outer garment. See the Matthew 5:40 note; also Acts 19:16 note; Mark 14:51-52 notes; Job 22:6 note; Isaiah 58:7 note.

36. Naked … sick … prison, and ye came unto me. See Poole on "Matthew 25:40".

Naked, and ye clothed me,.... For in such a condition sometimes are the dear children of God, and members of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 4:11, when others, who, Dorcas like, have made coats and garments for them, and clothed them with them; and which will be shown another day, or taken notice of as the fruits, and so evidences of the grace of God in them,

I was sick, and ye visited me, or "looked after me", or "over me": or, as the Persic version renders it, ye had the care of me; and which is the true sense and import of the word: for it not only intends visits paid to sick persons in a Christian manner, relieving them with their substance, giving good advice, or speaking comfortable words to them; but attending them, and waiting on them, and doing such things for them which, in their weak state, they are not capable of doing for themselves. Visiting of the sick was reckoned, by the Jews, a very worthy action: they speak great things of it, and as what will be highly rewarded hereafter,

"Six things, (they say (h),) a man eats the fruit of them in this world, and there is a stable portion for him in the world to come:

and the two first of them are, "the taking in of travellers", or "strangers", which is mentioned in the preceding verse, and , "visiting the sick". One of their Rabbins (i) says,

"he that does not visit the sick, is as if he shed blood: says another, he that visits the sick is the cause of his living; and he that does not visit the sick, is the cause of his death: and, says a third, whoever visits the sick shall be preserved from the damnation of hell.

I was in prison, and ye came unto me: which has been often the lot of the saints, as it was frequently of the Apostle Paul, who had this respect shown him by many of the people of God, as by the house of Onesiphorus, and by Epaphroditus, who brought him a present from the Philippians, when in bonds; and which will be remembered another day,

(h) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol, 127. (i) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 40. 1. Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Ebel, c. 14. sect. 4, 5, 6.

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Matthew 25:36. γυμνὸς, ἠσθένησα, ἐν φυλακῇ: deeper degrees of misery demanding higher degrees of charity; naked = ill clad, relief more costly than in case of hunger or thirsty sick, calling for sympathy prompting to visits of succour or consolation; in prison, a situation at once discreditable and repulsive, demanding the highest measure of love in one who visits the prisoner, the temptation being strong to be ashamed of one viewed as a criminal, and to shrink from his cell, too often dark and loathsome.—ἐπεσκέψασθέ με, this verb is often used in the O. T. and N. T. in the sense of gracious visitation on the part of God (for פָּקַד in Sept[136]) (vide Luke 1:78, and the noun ἐπισκοπή in Luke 19:44).

[136] Septuagint.

Verse 36. - Ye visited me. The visitation of the sick has become a common term among us. It implies properly going to see, though other ideas are connoted. Ye came unto me. It was easier in those days to visit friends in prison than it is at the present time. Good men, if they could not obtain release of prisoners, might comfort and sympathize with them. The seven corporal works of mercy which antiquity has endorsed have been preserved in the mnemonic line, "Visito, poto, cibo, redimo, tego, colligo, condo. All these might be performed by non-Christians who professed the fear of God and followed the guidance of conscience. God never leaves himself without witness; his Spirit strives with man, and in the absence of higher and completer revelation, to be wholly guided by these inner motions is to work out salvation, as far as circumstances allow, and in a certain restricted sense. In a universal judgment regard is had to this consideration. "In return for what do they receive such things? For the covering of a roof, for a garment, for bread, for cold water, for visiting, for going into the prison. For indeed in every case it is for what is needed; and sometimes not even for that. For surely the sick and he that is in bonds seek not for this only, but the one to be loosed, the other to be delivered from his infirmity. But he, being gracious, requires only what is within our power, or rather even less than what is within our power, leaving to us to exert our generosity in doing more" (St. Chrysostom, in loc.). Matthew 25:36Visited (ἐπεσκέψασθε)

Lit., Ye looked upon. Our word visit is from the Latin viso, to look steadfastly at, and thence to visit. We retain the original thought in the popular phrases go to see one, and to look in upon one.

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