HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
We are his flock. What does that mean?
It means Psalm 23!
And it means that we should remember that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Begrudgingly? Under constraint? Emphatically NO! “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18).
The Father did not begrudge the gift of his Son and the Son did not begrudge the gift of his life. It is Shepherd’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to his flock.
Fifth, consider the word “little.” “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Jesus is as pains to choose every word that will help us see God the way he really is. Why does he say “little flock”? I think it has two effects. First, it’s a term of affection and care. If I say to my family when they are in danger, “Don’t be afraid, little family,” what I mean is: I know you are in danger and that you are small and weak, but I will use all my power to take care of you because you are precious to me. So “little flock” carries the connotation of affection and care.
It also implies that God’s goodness to us is not dependent on our greatness. We are a little flock—little in size, little in strength, little in wisdom, little in righteousness, little in love. If God’s goodness to us depended on our greatness, we would be in big trouble. But that’s the point. It doesn’t. So we aren’t. “Fear not little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.”
Finally, consider the word “kingdom.” There might be one little foothold left for the feeling that God is begrudging and ill-disposed toward us. Someone might say, “OK, God is our Father and not our slave master; he enjoys giving instead of selling; he treats us the way a good shepherd treats his flock; he has an affection and pity toward us in our littleness. But what, after all, does he promise to give?”