Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Matt 25:31-46
My first thought was that this is not a parable, as Jesus explains everything right down to the last word. It is just an analogy rather than a parable. But it is a parable, something to learn told in an illustrated lesson. There will be a division in heaven, and this parable is how and why.
The division of sheep and goats is based on those who have taken the teachings to heart and acted on the lessons. We have to take the lessons of Jesus, ingest them and let them change us. The changing will make us more like him, will make us take on his characteristics. We will feed and clothe others in need, we will say a gentle word, we will become more patient and loving. We will grow become stronger in Him. This parable is about the evidence of his life in us, how our actions demonstrate an inner faith. This last parable in Matthew follows that vertical and horizontal relationship idea: we have a vertical relationship with God that overflows into the horizontal relationships with others around us. It must flow horizontally if it is healthy.
As I think back over the characteristics found in just the parables, let alone the other teachings of Jesus in Matthew, I am humbled. I know I cannot take on these characteristics by myself, but only in Him. Come and teach me, Holy Spirit.