Luke 12:1-7 NRSVue

1Meanwhile, when the crowd had gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. 2Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered and nothing secret that will not become known. 3Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.

4“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more. 5But I will show you whom to fear: fear the one who, after killing, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear that one! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. 7But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Some thoughts on this scripture

The Jews used to say that every blade of grass has its own guardian angel. God has an eye for the details, for the monsters as well as the molecules. We mortals are born and die in our millions, many of us unregarded or forgotten. Yet the Lord cherishes each of us personally. Without that faith I would despair. So I come back to this verse: in God's eyes each of us is precious.

'Walk it as you talk it' was a popular slogan for a while, with the meaning that we practise what we preach, and live what we believe. Jesus is tough on hypocrisy, often hard on people who use religion for their own ends. Our true selves come through, just like the hypocrisy of the Pharisees will not remain always hidden. True prayer is a time for getting in touch with our true self, with its positive and negative side. We can pray that the love of God will inspire all that is good in us, and that God's healing forgiveness can look after the rest.

People may try to lead others astray, and Jesus points this out to his followers. The world is a sort of battlefield sometimes of good and evil; communities and individuals need to take care not to be misled. God is the carer, the one who values each of us fully. Can we do the same, and treat others as God treats us - each of us being of infinite value?