Why would Jesus, or in this case probably Luke, address the readers with ‘little flock’ (poimnion)?
We do not find this word in Mark, Matthew or John. They use another word when referring to literal or metaphorical flocks (poimne). But they never use it to address people. Neither does Luke do that again; he does use the word again in Acts; twice as a reference to the church.
‘Little flock’ sounds intimate but might also come across as patronising. The “do not be afraid” echoes the “do not worry” of verse 22. Jesus’ advice is: do not worry about your life so that you do not strive for food and clothes but for the kingdom. In your striving for the kingdom do not be afraid because God delights in giving his kingdom. It is uncanny how a gentle and kind saying: “Do not be afraid, little flock,…” has such a challenging and difficult demand: “Sell your possessions”.
I am unsure whether Luke saw a connection between ‘making treasure in heaven’ and ‘waiting for the master’. Both have their attention diverted from the immediate here and now to the kingdom of heaven and the coming of the Son of Man. Luke does not explain what the waiting looks like; maybe selling your possessions is a practical way in which you can be alert for the return of the messiah and the coming of the kingdom. The question remains: Where is your treasure?
7 August 2016
Luke 12: 32-40
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.
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