"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.Luke 12:32(NASB)
The Messiah was SENT by God to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He was their true and faithful Shepherd, and they were the sheep of His pasture. He came in fulfilment of prophecy and authenticated His Messianic claims with many signs and wonders. But Israel as a nation rejected their promised Messiah, and those who recognised their Saviour proved to be a very insignificant little flock.
It was not to the religious hypocrites and proud Pharisees who scorned the Lord Jesus to Whom He offered His words of grace and consolation. It was to a disparate little group of His faithful followers that the Lord Jesus offered these words of comfort and encouragement: "Do not be afraid, little flock," He told the anxious little group who had already started to be persecuted for righteousness' sake: "Fear not, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."
Christ's little band of disciples were the frightened little flock that He addressed, as contempt for Jesus and His disciples grew in intensity and fervour. While being tenderly addressed as Christ's 'little flock', his followers were increasingly regarded as foolish and unimportant by the proud religious leaders of the day. Nevertheless, they were given a most precious assurance by their Lord and Saviour: "For your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."
No words of greater encouragement could have been given to Christ's disciples as they encountered increasing hostility from the Scribes, Pharisees, and Jewish leaders - blind leaders of the blind who refused the truth so that they could embrace the lie.
But there were other sheep in different sheep-folds for the Good Shepherd to care for, and so the Father also GAVE the same unique Son of His love because He loved the world so much that whosoever would believe on His name, would not perish and be condemned, but have everlasting life and be forever free from God's condemnation.
The crowd that followed Jesus were only concerned for their earthly provision and temporal needs, but Jesus would often use their limited outlook of the hypocritical Jews, to teach His disciples deeper truths that had a heavenly perspective and eternal consequences. They may have been a little flock, but they were the recipients of heavenly truths that came through the wisdom of the Word of God.
And so, He would privately address His disciples and explain the futility of worry, the importance of trusting the Father, their inability to address the issues that arise in their lives, and the need to develop a heavenly viewpoint. They were to discover the wisdom of not being afraid and the eternal benefits of laying up for themselves treasure in heaven.
The beautiful figure of the Good Shepherd gently attending to the needs of his flock, feeding them, defending them, guiding them, protecting them, and correcting them is pictured here, for they were to be inheritors of the kingdom, but how few enjoy the true benefits offered to this tiny flock, for most are only interested in earthly provision and temporal needs.
But this little group of Jews were to be guided out of the sheep-fold of Israel to join the other sheep under the care of that great Shepherd of the sheep – for this Good Shepherd gave His life for all His sheep. And although the gifts and calling are without repentance and the lost sheep of the house of Israel will one day be settled in the earthly Jerusalem enjoying the fruit of the land, His heavenly flock will reside in the heavenly kingdom, eating the fruit of the tree of life.
Loving Father, thank You that Your grace has been extended to all who will believe in the Lord Jesus as the Good and Great Shepherd of all the lost people of the world, including me. Thank You for saving me and drawing me into Your eternal sheep-fold. In Jesus' name I pray. AMEN.