Luke 12:22-34 – Fear Not, Little Faiths

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Luke 12:22-34

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Birds in a nestOf how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Through this whole text, Jesus comes at us with the Law to point out our sins of idolatry. The human heart is an idol factory.  Because of our sin, we fear, love, and trust all sorts of things that aren’t God. Answer the question, “What am I afraid of?” and you will find your idol.

If Jesus had wanted to, He could have summarized this whole text with one command: “Thou shalt not worry.” But Jesus didn’t come be a new Moses and give more commands. Jesus came to remove your worry and anxiety. Jesus came to remove your fear of God’s righteous judgment against your sin and idolatry because He came to take your sin from you and to be judged and condemned in your place.

And here Jesus tears down your idols. He clears them all away, but notice how Jesus does it. He does it kindly. Jesus the Good Shepherd 1He does it with tenderness. Jesus diagnoses your idolatry very acutely, but very gently. The voice of your Shepherd calls you away from danger, away from idolatry to Himself. Jesus gives you several questions to ask yourself. Each of these questions is an argument against your idolatry and drives you to put your trust in God.

First, Jesus invites you to look at the birds. Birds who do not make meal plans. Birds who don’t go to school to learn how to get a job and work. Birds who don’t make barns and storehouses. Birds that just get fed by God. Jesus invites you to look at them and ask yourself, “How much more valuable am I than the birds?” Seriously, answer that question.

Jesus didn’t come to suffer and die for birds. He came to have a crown of thorns pressed into His head, to have His hands and feet run through with nails, to have His side gashed by a spear not for birds, but for you!

Second, Jesus wants you to consider how you can live longer. “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” None of you can. If you cannot do something as simple as that, then what good is it for you to worry? It doesn’t help a lick.

Third, the lilies, question. Lilies don’t work. They don’t toil or spin. They don’t watch for the hottest deals of the season. And not even Solomon – the wealthiest, most powerful king Israel ever had – not even he was clothed as beautifully and luxuriously as one of them. Lilies are alive in the flower bed today and are drowned by the rain, beat down by the hail, or thrown in the burn pile tomorrow. Jesus asks you, “If God so clothes the grass, how much more will He clothe you?”

Finally, Jesus says, “Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.” So, ask yourself, “Does God know what I need?” And the answer is unequivocally, “Yes.” God knows what you need. In fact, He knows even better than you do. God knows better than the health experts who say one week that eggs are good and the next that they are bad. God knows what you need. And He is your Father.

Imagine you are driving home,[1] and you are worried about all sorts of things. You are worried about getting home late. You are worried because work has slowed down and cuts are coming. You have had a pain in your back for weeks that just won’t go away, and you fear that you might need surgery. You are anxious and worrying about all these things swirling around in your head. Suddenly, someone jumps into your car and points a gun at you.

What happens to all those things that you are anxious, worried, and troubled about? They’re gone, right? All those worries are gone in an instant. In that moment, the only thing that you fear is the strange, fidgety man pointing his gun at you.

Jesus says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:23). People can kill your body. Cancer and disease can kill your body. If God allows it, the devil can attack and kill your body. But Jesus says not to fear any of that. Instead, fear God because God alone determines where your soul will be. And because of your sin, you deserve hell.

Jesus says to you, “I have come and taken your sin. So fear not, you of little faith. Fear not little flock. Trust Me. Trust Me when I say that it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Imagine that guy in your car pointing his gun at you, and he says, “I’m here to protect you.” Then all your fear is gone. All those things you had been worried about were removed because of that crazy guy with the gun, and now you know that you don’t need to be afraid of him either.

Cross and CommunionGod comes to you today, and He is not here to destroy you. He says, “Fear not. I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Gen. 15:1). He comes not to judge you. Jesus is here to give you His Body and Blood in His supper. It is His good pleasure to give you the kingdom in the Bread and Wine. Fear not, you of little faith because you don’t have an inconsistent God who forgets His promises to care for you and all of your needs. Your God and His love for you in Christ will never change, never fade, and never diminish. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

[1] This analogy is from a sermon preached by Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller.

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This entry was posted in Year C.

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