Having asked His disciples to willingly die for Him, Jesus assures them that God holds their lives in great value.
The parallel gospel accounts of this teaching are found in Luke 12:6-7 and Luke 21:18.
Having put the disciples on notice that He is asking them to die for Him, Jesus assures them that God holds their lives in great value. Jesus asks His disciples to consider the birds. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? The rhetorical response is affirmative. And the fact that two sparrows are sold for one cent, literally one “assarium” (a Roman coin worth tenth of a drachma), emphasize the sparrows’ very small value. But even though sparrows have little value in society, Jesus tells His disciples that not one of them dies without your Father sovereignly allowing their fall. God cares about even the sparrows.
Jesus then changes the subject from sparrows to His disciples. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. God’s omniscience and care extends remarkably to this trivial detail of the disciples’ lives. It is such an intimate and remote detail, that even the disciples themselves did not know the number of hairs on their own head. And yet your Father knows the very exact number.
So do not fear, Jesus assures His disciples, your Father loves you. He treasures you. You are more valuable than many sparrows. This affirms that God is not asking the disciples to foolishly throw your life away without good cause. He is asking you to lay your life down for Him. God will honor your valuable sacrifice of laying down your life for His sake. You do not need to fear that your life or death is meaningless in your Father’s eyes.
The inference is that if God sees the sparrows and their fall, He will certainly see you and every sacrifice you make or trouble you encounter on His behalf for His sake whether they are big or small. But your Father does not just take notice of your life and the sacrifices you made for Him; He treasures you, for you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
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