Kingdom Voices: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Happy Christmas eve, everyone!  My family has a busy day planned that I hope glorifies God and shares His love for others.  But first, in honor of the day, I thought I’d share another excerpt from my Advent devotional.

Of all of the words of the Bible, perhaps none captivate me more than Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25.  That parable ignites a wide range of emotions in me, from fear to wonder to excitement to passion to desire to meet God in the people around me.  There is something utterly profound in Christ’s statement that, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (25:40).  Truly, it is hard to plumb the depths of those words, and to fully understand their implications.  I think, however, that Bonhoeffer does a pretty good job here of briefly exploring the import of the amazing picture that Jesus paints in that parable:

“One day at the last judgment, he will separate the sheep and the goats and will say to those on his right:  ‘Come, you blessed…I was hungry and you fed me…’ (Matt. 25:34).  To the astonished question of when and where, he answered:  ‘What you did to the least of these, you have done to me…’ (Matt. 25:40).  With that we are faced with the shocking reality:  Jesus stands at the door and knocks in complete reality.  He asks you for help in the form of a beggar, in the form of a ruined human being in torn clothing.  He confronts you in every person that you meet.  Christ walks on the earth as your neighbor as long as there are people.  He walks on earth as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, and makes his demands.  That is the greatest seriousness and the greatest blessedness of the Advent message.  Christ stands at the door.  He lives in the form of the person in our midst.  Will you keep the door locked or open it to him?”

The idea of being able to meet Christ in each person among the masses of humanity around us, and to serve Him directly through loving our neighbor never ceases to enthrall me.

What passage of Scripture most excites and motivates you?

*Quote taken from:  Bonhoeffer, Dietrich.  “The Coming of Jesus in our Midst.”  Watch for the Light:  Readings for Advent and Christmas.  Farmington, PA:  Plough Publishing House, 2001.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Is it a cop out to say that all scripture excites and motivates me? Ok, I’ll point to one that came to mind. Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (the suffering and triumphant Servant). It has the whole gospel in those few verses. I don’t think it was mere accident that this was the passage the Ethiopian was reading when Philip started there and explained all about Jesus. There’s great stuff in the Bible all around!



    • Ha! I wish that all Scripture excited and motivated me! Some of them just confuse the tar out of me! I do love the suffering servant prophecies in Isaiah. In fact, all of the “fifties” of Isaiah are pretty stellar. The “forties” aren’t bad, either:).


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