Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
4) Matthew 10 - The care of the Creator (10:29-31)
Jesus' next motive for steadfastness is not merely the Judge before whom the disciples must stand: He is your
Father, and, with this word; it evokes all of the encouraging, comforting power of that relationship.
The Lord creates all the unyielding incorruptible allegiance that family honor can demand. This is the perfect
mixture of the fear of the Lord, balanced with a confident love for the Father. Jesus is not satisfied to place before
His people only the sterile fear of a critical Judge. Nor can he permit His children to conceive of Him as an indulgent
"great Buddy in the skies," who has only endless love and requires nothing from those selfish monsters who would
call themselves His people.
Matthew 10:29 - Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Jesus indicates that He expected His listeners to agree that
this was the going price on these seemingly insignificant birds, incidentally informing us that sparrows were an
article of commerce. This is a reference to the common custom of the East of catching small birds, and selling them
to be skinned, roasted and sold.
And not one of them shall fall on the ground, whether caught in a trap (Psalms 91:3, Psalms 124:7, Proverbs 6:5) or
killed without your Father's, "knowledge and consent". Not one of them: this is a bit more expressive than "none of
them" taken in a collective sense, even though, ultimately, the general meaning is the same. This throws the
emphasis upon the one bird: "Not even one of them," though many of them could be bought for little.
The bird-seller in the market would cry "Two sparrows for one thin copper coin! Today five birds for the price of
four, with one thrown into the bargain!" (Luke 12:6). This means that even the odd sparrow, the one thrown in for
good measure, is dear to God. Luke has "Not one of them is forgotten before God." Jesus could not have made it
any plainer that each and every bird is individually present in God's mind when it dies. This will be driven home
when He makes His application in Matthew 10:31.
Your father is a far different concept from "the Creator of sparrows," as far different as the emotional impact that is
makes. While assuring us of God's omniscience, the Savior intimates that our Father not only knows such detailed
information as the fall of sparrows, but feels and cares about us.
Matthew 10:30 - But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Several commentators have insisted upon the
difference between "counting" hairs and "numbering" them.
Numbering is more than counting. It is attaching a value to every one, almost labeling each; a far more wonderful
thing than counting. Jesus says that each hair is not only counted as one but has its own number and is thus
individually known and distinguished. So if any one hair is removed, God knows precisely which one it is. Thus, in
these two parallel illustrations, Jesus advances His argument from God's interest and care about relatively minute
things outside us, to God's care for minutiae connected with us. The smaller the object used as a basis of
comparison, the less its value, the greater is the force of Jesus' argument: God knows what is happening to His
children, and He knows how to care for them. This puts muscle into the demand the Lord had made earlier that the
Apostles go out without what would seem to be absolutely necessary provisions (Matthew 10:9 and 10).
Matthew 10:31 - Fear not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows. This deliberate understatement is
similar to another: "If your Father notes the fall of the tiniest sparrow, do you suppose He could somehow miss a
Boeing 747?" (Matthew 12:12).
Not only is man so much larger than a sparrow, and consequently would be more obviously visible to the gaze of
God, but also man is of so much more consequence to God than any number of other creatures. But Jesus is not
describing the importance of His Twelve Apostles alone, so much as He is pointing to the excelling importance of
any disciple (Luke 12:6-7).
Fear not therefore. This admonition connects this picture of the love of God, with the horrible revelations of the
uncertainties and the unknowns in the disciples' future, mentioned earlier. But this is just the point: God's concern
for and care of His people is not just "pie in the sky by and by," but practical strengthening, comfort and provision in
the present. Fear, then, is SIN and punishable in hell. The list of hell's inmates has "the cowardly, the timid, those
without faith" at the top of the list (Revelation 21:8).
This is because fear presupposes that God is somehow paying no attention to our needs or else our plight could
somehow escape His notice. Fear would even blame God for appearing not to care about us or feel our weakness
or pain. Fear would hold that the mere mechanics of running the universe, a task suitable for an omnipotent and
omniscient Being, could occupy the entire attention of Him who created man for His own fellowship! To this Jesus
cries: "No! Your care, your needs, your struggles, your suffering - You are of more value to God than any
combination of intricate or minute details involved in steering the stars or spotting sparrows!" What a motive for
enduring faithfully whatever may come!
God's love for men is seen not only in the omnipotence of creation and the great events of history; it is also seen in
the day-to-day nourishment of the bodies of men. Courage of the King's messenger is founded on the conviction
that, whatever happens, he cannot drive beyond the love and care of God. He knows that his times are forever in
God's hands; that God will not leave him nor forsake him; that he is surrounded for ever by the care of God. And if
this is so-of whom then shall we be afraid?
Is it possible to imagine, much less actually meet, the man who was in want, because he trusted God too much and
gave too much to Christ and His work? Even if that man loses every possession he ever owned and actually was
wondering where his next meal was coming from, would he consider himself in want, so great is his love for and
dependence upon God?