THE LITTLE FLOCK
“Fear not little flock. For it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” [Luke 12:32]
And who does he say this too? The worried, the fearful, the people who even as he speaks live in a land occupied by the most powerful army on earth, people who know that revolt is brewing, people harassed by proconsular foreign gangsters and their groveling political servants. He speaks to people he knows will soon see a million and a half of their fellows slain in a vain military revolt.
He never says such things to the powerful! He says it only to the underdogs, to those who are about to march out against a world they could never change, a world too strong for them.
The big hitters, the power-brokers, the Tiberius’s of the world need no help, ask for no help, demonstrate their self-sufficiency by their unstoppable legions and especially by their shrewd handling of social structures that shape powerless people and makes them content and submissive or resentful and bitter but hopeless. World-makers these are, these emperors who will say things like this to gathered ambassadors and representatives of little fretful nations:
“Here—here’s plenty of bread, here are good roads, here’s a political voice, here’s military assurance of protection against invaders and domestic subversives. Satisfied? Good, now fall down and worship me, the provider of all you care about, all you know you need. The only sin you can commit that I take any notice of is the sin of rejecting me as your god. Do that and I’ll bury you.
”Do that and I will send my ruthless and unstoppable legions against you. They’ll come like a horde of locusts, countless and devouring, covering your land as they have done with so many lands and nations that thought they could resist us. There is nothing we cannot do; our power is limitless. We hold the power of life and death.”1
That’s how a Roman emperor would speak—the world’s most powerful man! Meanwhile, as the crow flies, something like 1450 miles away in a little village a young man is speaking to a grieving girl whose brother lies buried just outside the town. He’s says:
How familiar the words!
How familiar the words!
He’s a young man, hardly yet in his prime.
What’s he saying? He’s saying: ”I am the cure of death! I’m the destroyer of death. I frighten Death. Death trembles at my name for my name is: RESURRECTION.
So, the response of the Christian is what? In addition to a steadfast refusal to dismiss or sideline God's gospel truth it must surely involve a wise and and practical and diligent response to Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus thought it worth saying that even a cup of cold water in his name gets God's attention and will never be forgotten.
1. Do read Isaiah 36, the entire chapter as an illustratin of such rhetoric