What follows is an excerpt of The Coming of the King: 25 Readings for Advent by J.C. Ryle. Get your copy of this advent devotional this month for a gift of any amount.
READ MATTHEW 25:31–46
In these verses our Lord Jesus Christ describes the Judgment Day and some of its leading circumstances. There are few passages in the whole Bible more solemn and heart-searching than this. May we read it with the deep and serious attention which it deserves.
Let us mark who will be the Judge in the last day—we read that it will be the Son of Man, Jesus Christ Himself.
That same Jesus who was born in the manger of Bethlehem and took upon Him the form of a servant, who was despised and rejected of men and often had no place to lay His head, who was condemned by the princes of this world, beaten, scourged, and nailed to the cross: that same Jesus shall Himself judge the world, when He comes in His glory. To Him the Father has committed all judgment (John 5:22). To Him at last every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10–11).
Let believers think of this and take comfort. He that sits upon the throne in that great and dreadful day will be their Saviour, their Shepherd, their High Priest, their elder Brother, their Friend. When they see Him, they will have no cause to be alarmed.
Let unconverted people think of this and be afraid. Their judge will be that same Christ whose gospel they now despise and whose gracious invitations they refuse to hear. How great will be their confusion at last, if they go on in unbelief and die in their sins! To be condemned in the day of judgment by anyone would be awful, but to be condemned by Him who would have saved them will be awful indeed. Well may the Psalmist say, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry” (Psalm 2:12).
Lord Jesus Christ, one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are Lord. One day I will face you as my Judge—but you are also my Saviour, my Shepherd, my High Priest, my elder Brother and my Friend. I praise you for your indescribable mercy and grace.
I pray for (name a friend or family member) who has not yet bowed the knee to you. I pray that you would open the eyes of their heart to see you for who you truly are. Amen.