28. And do not fear those people who kill the body, but do not have power to kill the spirit. Rather fear Him who has the power to destroy both spirit and body in hell.
29. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And yet not one of these falls to the ground without your Father knowing about it.
30. But the hairs of your head are all numbered.
31. Therefore do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.
This passage comes after a section where Jesus is talking about the persecution to be expected by His followers. At the very beginning Jesus commands His disciples to go out healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons. However, a few verses later, Jesus talks about the opposition that His followers should expect. People will betray them, whip them in their synagogues, sometimes even hand them over to death. So then, here as elsewhere in the Bible, it is clear that for a Christian power and persecution go together. The greatest example of this is Jesus Himself, of course. He performed countless miracles, but He was also persecuted right to death – however His death was part of God’s master plan to redeem humanity.
It is in this context that Jesus instructs His disciples to “not fear those who kill the body” v28…. Death by martyrdom was very common for Christians (and Jewish people) in the First Century Roman Empire. However, now in the 21st Century more Christians are killed for their faith than at any other time in history. Because it tends to happen “in other countries”, we in the West can often be blind to this issue. However, the words of Jesus are as true now as they were then – even where persecutors kill the body, they cannot kill the spirit. However, God can destroy both body and spirit in the fires of hell. This is why as Christians we have to be so careful that even in the midst of persecution we hold onto God in holiness and purity, otherwise we still run the risk of losing everything for ever, and suffering for eternity in hell.
28. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And yet not one of these falls to the ground without your Father knowing about it. This verse explains how God knows everything in creation – including even the fate of small sparrows. These sparrows are so small and numerous that two can be sold for a copper coin. And yet when even one of these sparrows falls to the groud, or dies, God is aware of it. If that is the case for sparrows, how much more for us, who are human beings, made in God’s glorious image?
30. Jesus here tells us that the hairs of our heads are all numbered. God knows everything about us in minute detail – and cares about it. Sometimes it might be easy to believe that we are just small people, living our lives outside of the gaze of heaven. But Jesus reminds us that God knows all about us, each one of us, at all times. God is not ignorant of our lives, we are not too small for His consideration.
31. This is why we can live our lives with boldness. God knows about us, God cares about us. He knows about the sparrows, and we are each worth far more than many sparrows. Even where things may appear to work out disastrously, we can still rest in the confidence that none of it escapes God’s notice, He is still in control! 😉
Photo of sparrow on tree branch from Gabicuz on Pixabay