Responsible Recipients of God’s Gifts
We mainline Christians are apt to be discomforted by Matthew’s apocalyptic predictions. There’s no doubt that Matthew (in a way unlike Mark, Luke, or John) asserts that divine judgment is real and that exclusion from God’s realm is fully possible if disciples refuse to live as Jesus has directed. Here’s a gospel in which there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, exclusion from wedding feasts, the gavel coming down and the door being locked. If your stress is upon Jesus as unconditional, all-accepting, utterly gracious love, Matthew’s stress on judgment as encouragement for good works in the name of Christ is sure to make you uncomfortable.