This passage is generally used to help people understand our role as Christians towards the “hungry,” “thirsty, “naked,” “sick,” and imprisoned people in our world. It should note that everyone of these situations was experienced by Christ Himself, though at the particular moment, He is speaking prophetically. He explains that every kind of thing we do for people (in this case, His “brothers” or disciples) is the equivalent of doing the same for Christ. It is a call to us to be kind to the Christ in others, to treat others as the embodiment of Christ Himself. We might see a homeless man begging for food on the street and turn our heads when we walk by, forgetting that Christ Himself was homeless. If we knew this homeless man to be Christ, we would certainly not turn away. Jesus reminds us that the homeless man is Christ. If we take these words to heart, as well as the passage that follows them, we will change our attitude towards people in need and treat them as if we were treating Christ in need.
And we pray:
Lord Jesus, help me to see everyone in Your image. When I see someone sick, hungry, or in need, let me help them as if I were helping You. Remind me everyday of this parable, so that I might never turn a blind eye to someone in need. Amen.