The Son of Man Exercising Judgment
Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:

The advent of Messiah was, in the Jewish mind, associated with general judgment. The people looked forward with dread to the Messianic era. There are some who can regard the passage commencing with this verse as descriptive. Others regard it as parabolic, with the scenery taken from men's ideas of the afterlife. It is difficult to follow the passage as descriptive, because human thought and human language are incapable of dealing with actual events beyond the earthly sphere. What we may find in it is an indication of what Christ makes the basis of his judgment of men. There are two things which may reasonably surprise us.

I. OUR JUDGE IS THE "SON OF MAN." It may be said that God is our Judge. But that brings in the element of fear. It seems to us that he must have an absolute and awful standard, and tested by it there will be no chance at all for any of us. "If thou wert strict to mark iniquity, who should stand?" But the God who judges us is revealed to us as the "Son of man," and then confidence takes the place of fear. The Son of man is one of us; he has passed through our experience, he knows us. And what we feel is that, if abstract justice needs to be qualified by a consideration of circumstances, he can safely so qualify it. This point may be illustrated by our familiar distinction between "justice" and "equity." "Justice" is precisely and exactly what the law lays down; and that is what we, rightly or wrongly, expect from God. "Equity" is that law applied with due consideration of relations between man and man, or of special human infirmity. And that is what we expect from the "Son of man" - from One "in all points tempted like as we are." Christ in no sense relieves the august solemnity of judgment, but he makes us fully, freely, lovingly, willing to accept his appraisement.

II. OUR JUDGE USES AN UNEXPECTED BASIS or JUDGMENT. We should be puzzled with it if the parable dealt with the world and sinners. It pictures the judgment of Christ's disciples. Eastern flocks are made up of sheep and goats, but all are the shepherd's property and care. Christ seems to propose judging on a basis of mere humanity or charitableness. But he goes deeper than that. The charity of which he speaks is the most satisfactory revelation of character, and it is character, not action, that is the basis of his judgment. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

WEB: "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

The Peculiar Character of the General Judgment
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