Pastor Dominic Cardamone
Without going into great detail concerning the entire passage of Matthew 10, it is sufficient for the purposes of this article to note that Jesus has chosen His twelve disciples and He sends them out to preach the good news of the kingdom. The chapter records Jesus giving His disciples specific instructions and encouragement for the task ahead of them. It is Jesus’ command for them to go specifically to the Jews during this campaign. When they do, Jesus tells them that they and their message will be met with both acceptance and rejection. They will even encounter persecution at times. Naturally, the disciples would become fearful at the prospect of persecution. However, Jesus assures them that God’s tender providence and care will be with them. They need not fear. In verses 29-31, Jesus reveals the motivation behind His providence and care for His disciples. Simply put, it is because they are of great value to Him.
What an incredible thought. I am valuable to Jesus! And so are you. Often times we can get discouraged and think that our lives are insignificant, meaningless, pointless, or even worthless. It seems as though depression and discouragement are on the rise in the midst of the Coronavirus days we are living in with extended stay-at-home orders, isolation from friends and family, people losing their jobs, etc. adding extra pressures. Some folks are feeling alone, forgotten, even undervalued. But Jesus doesn’t mince words in this passage: His children are valuable to Him.
He expresses the extent of His care and subsequently the value of His disciples in an illustrative way. He uses the examples of a sparrow and the numbering of hairs on one’s head. The sparrow is of so small account that the value of one of them is not even considered alone, but rather they are sold (valued) in groups. In Bible times, two sparrows were sold for a farthing (a very small metric of money). According to Luke 12:6, five sparrows were sold for two farthings. What a deal! ☺ Yet, even the seemingly worthless sparrows (according to man’s economy) are under the watchful eye of the Father. The sparrow is not closed out from God’s care. Jesus said that not one of them falls to the ground without God (Luke 12:6 records, “not forgotten of God”). God is the one who feeds the birds in life as Jesus says in Matthew 6:26 and God even takes note of their death (when they “fall”) whether by natural causes or in violence.
Jesus then uses a comparison in contrast to the care of the sparrows with the numbering of hairs on one’s head. The line in verse 30 “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” is part of a proverbial expression of God’s care. God not only cares for the minuscule sparrow but He also uses His power and knowledge to number all the hairs on one’s head. Jesus is essentially saying that God has the ability and uses that ability to take even greater care for the more consequential things (our existence is more complex and consequential than a sparrow’s). If He can take care to number all of the hairs on one’s head, He can care for all of the body too and all the things we will encounter in our lives. This expression also intimates that God takes greater care of us than we do or could for ourselves. I don’t number my hairs. I can’t number them, but God does!
What’s the point? Jesus finishes the illustration by telling His disciples not to fear because they are of more value to Him than many sparrows. He gives a lot of care to one sparrow. His disciples are more valuable than many sparrows and will be the recipients of even greater care. Matthew Henry said it this way, “He who feeds the sparrow will not starve the saint.” You may be tempted to think that you have been overlooked or undervalued and perhaps you have by men. But remember that according to the Bible, you are valuable to God and never overlooked by Him.