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Home > 2013 > July Online Only > … You've Done It Unto Me

I recently taught a class on a Theology of Evangelism at a local conservative seminary. It was a most enjoyable class (and one of my favorite topics) full of significant young Christian leaders. My belief is that when we lovingly proclaim the gospel of Jesus that most often, friendship happens.

As a gift to the students, I asked Kevin Palau to come to class and contribute his significant perspective to our conversation. Kevin was fantastic!

If you don't know, Kevin is the son of renowned evangelist, Luis Palau and he is the current president of the Palau Evangelistic Association. Among his many ministry accomplishments, he has been instrumental, if not unprecedented, in his work to build partnerships between civic/city governments and church communities.

Kevin sat relaxed in front of my class, as if we were all lounging in his living room. He is almost giddy when he talks about the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus and the work of the Palau organization over the decades and especially today.

Then he shared about his work with the City of Portland and specifically the Mayor's office. "We just went in and told the mayor that we wanted to help. We, the evangelical church, have an incredible network of thousands and thousands of people who want to love this city. We have time, expertise and manpower. How can we help?"

According to Kevin, the Mayor and his staff were thankful and inspired by the invitation. Even Kevin was amazed by how much, over time, the city invited the faith community into partnership.

After a time of brainstorming about the most glaring needs in the city of Portland (again this was a City government generated list), seven areas of need were presented:

"Hunger, homelessness, healthcare, poorly financed public schools, foster care, human trafficking, and the environment"

With Kevin's words still floating in the middle of the room, I thought of Jesus' transformational commentary on the Kingdom in Matthew 25:

Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
(I was) naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me;
I was in prison, and you came to Me."

Then the righteous will answer Him, "Lord, when?"

The King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."

(Matthew 25:34-37,40 NASB, format and bold mine)

Let's line those two lists up:

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Tony Kriz is a writer and church leader from Portland, Oregon, and Author in Residence at Warner Pacific College.

Posted: July 22, 2013

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Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

David Sanford

September 03, 2013  12:20pm

Naked? Jesus talked about it, but we evangelicals have a hard time. Yet in various cultures around the world, then and now, naked is common. When you step into water--to bathe, to wash clothes, to be baptized--you're naked. Mostly, it's a non-sensual experience. There is no way to hide your poverty, however, when you're naked. Everyone can see how thin you are. Not just your stomach. Not just your ribs sticking out. But, if you're a woman, the fact that your breasts are paper thin. You know you would be beautiful, but the paper thin skin is all that's there. It's haunting, all right, to see the eyes of Jesus in such a woman. But come home from the Sahara desert and tell my church about such women? That poor? That naked? That's too haunting for most people to even begin to consider...

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Corbey Dukes

August 02, 2013  8:04am

I think when we couple Matthew 25 with Romans 8:17 we see a reinforcement of this concept by Paul. Do we share Christ's sufferings and what exactly are His sufferings? The tense seems to be present and continuing. Is Christ still suffering today's injustice/sin? And "whatever" we do to the least of these we are still doing to him? I direct a program for sexually abused girls. I believe that Christ understands their pain and shame profoundly because of what He said in Matthew 25 - whatever we do to them, we do to Him. Romans 8:17 reinforces the words of Jesus ("Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance) as Paul says IF we share in His sufferings we will share in His glory. I hope the church's awakening to this truth is not our latest fad to appear relevant but a true understanding that we serve Jesus when we serve the poor, naked, imprisoned, oppressed. Peace.

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Marshall Shelley

July 24, 2013  10:03am

I've read that passage in Matthew hundreds of times, but I never considered that application of the "naked." Thanks, Tony. That's haunting and, I suspect, close to the heart of God.

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