Fear Not Little Flock

Day 25

In poems and hymns and sentimental religious writings Jesus is often described as “meek and mild.” Apparently this has much more to do with a fondness for poetic alliteration than any desire to accurately describe the unvarnished Jesus. Meek? Yes. Mild. Never! Meek and wild. Meek and radical. Meek and controversial. These may not sound as poetic, but they are infinitely closer to the truth. One thing Jesus never was was mild.

You see this quite clearly in Luke 12 and 13. These two chapters are almost entirely teachings from Jesus; 84 of the 94 verses are the words of Jesus. Some are very familiar words of comfort from Christ. But these two chapters also contain some very strong words of confrontation from Christ — and often the words of comfort and the words of confrontation are only verses apart.


Jesus talks about fearing God because He is the One who has authority to cast a soul into hell. As a friend of mine says, “Jesus talking about hell is like the alcoholic uncle we try to hide in the back room when guests come over.” In today’s culture of political correctness where the only acceptable references to God are bland and anemic references to what A.W. Tozer called “the Mush God”, much of the church seems embarrassed by a Jesus who talks pointedly about hell. But Jesus does talk about hell, pointedly and often. The vast majority of references to hell in the Bible come from Jesus. So much for mild. Jesus doesn’t care one whit for political correctness. He’s not a politician.

Yet in the very next verse Jesus talks about God’s concern for sparrows and how God’s caring interest for us is so great that He bothers to number the hairs of our head. Jesus presents God in extremes. The God with authority to cast into hell is also the God whose eye is on the sparrow and watches over His children.

Jesus tells His disciples that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give them the Kingdom. “Fear not little flock.” Words of comfort. But then Jesus makes it clear that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Words of confrontation. The sword of Christ is not the sword of violence (like the sword of Muhammad), rather the sword of Christ is the sword of division. Jesus is the great divide of all humanity. Ultimately humanity will not be divided by race or class or nationality or politics, rather humanity will be divided by the Son of Man who will separate the sheep from the goats based on their confession or denial of Christ.

Whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

When Jesus was told about a massacre and a disaster (Ch. 13:1f), instead of responding with polite and sympathetic remarks, the way a politician would, Jesus used it as an opportunity to impress people the severity of their own situation: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Words of confrontation.

But in the same chapter we find Jesus in a synagogue healing a woman and saying, “Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound — think of it — for eighteen years, be loosed on the Sabbath.” Words of comfort.

The chapter closes with Jesus mixing words of comfort and confrontation. Jesus laments over Jerusalem and says He often longed to gather them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing. But then He speaks of the impending desolation that will come upon Jerusalem because they missed their Messiah in His first coming.

Words of comfort and confrontation from Christ. We cannot divide them. We must receive them both.


I’m spending the day in my study preparing my Sunday message, Professor Jesus. See you in the morning.