29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Humans miss the mark.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, even to those farthest from the Faith.
Humans can be so blinded by sight, deaf through hearing, and dumb with knowledge. I think this is the true struggle of stepping into the Truth: leaning on our own understanding in a way that blocks out Jesus.
Matthew 10:29-31 is an interesting portion of Scripture. I think it gets misinterpreted by our own understanding. If you are like me, you have heard and read this with a specific lens. The lens of comparison.
IF you are like me, you have read this text to mean something like this:
“Are not two meaningless birds sold for a cent? Yet not one of these meaningless birds falls to the ground outside your Father’s knowing. God knows all, even something insignificant as this. But you…God has the hairs of your head numbered. So, don’t be afraid. If God cares about knowing whether or not these meaningless creatures die, how much more do you think he cares about you.” JHT version (Jake’s Human Transliteration)
Sound at all familiar?
Some of us read most of Scripture in this idiosyncratic way because we are human. Which is the exact thing Jesus is wanting the disciples realize: Pay attention to the ways in which humanity understands the world.
Jesus is not comparing the disciples to the sparrows, but the ways in which the Father and humanity sees the world. The Father created everything and loves everything. There is no end to His loving.
But Humanity? We compare; we compete; we have levels of love for everything, especially one another. Humans are not God. Until Jesus. Jesus, especially in this moment, revealed and prepared a different way to think and live in flesh. The Kingdom Way!
Back in this time period, sparrows were nearly worthless. Jesus was pointing out that it is humanity that sells 2 sparrows for a penny. In other words, humanity puts this price on sparrows.
The Father isn’t the one selling two sparrows for a penny! The Father is the One that knows everything about these birds: when they died, who killed them, who sold them, who bought them, etc. To the Father, these are His creation, and God understands His creation in its fullness. These birds are not meaningless to the Father, only to humanity.
Humanity kills and sells these birds in the market for next to nothing. They are a means to an end.
Jesus is telling the disciples that, according to humanity, they are worth more than many sparrows, and yet they will kill them too. They too will be viewed as disposable as they carry the Gospel message. Everything Jesus is saying is about not fearing those who are going to beat them, bring them before courts, and kill them. He is saying in this statement, “YOU CANNOT PUT YOUR TRUST IN HUMANITY! They are strong-headed and fickle, but they cannot truly hurt you. You can only put your trust in the One that knows you and is faithful.”
Like the sparrows, the Father knows everything there is to know about us.
God knows your struggles as you live a life to and for Him.
God is with you through the toughest times of your life.
The Father sees your hurt, and there is not one tear that slides down your cheek that the Lord of all creation doesn’t see and care about.
The losses you have had to endure, sicknesses you have had to carry, hateful and demeaning words, the emotional stress you are under, everything is in the Father’s view.
Hear Matthew 10:29-31 today another way:
“Look at these beautiful sparrows. Humanity kills them and sells them for a penny. This is how much they have determined that they are worth. To them you are worth far more than many sparrows. Even though they believe this, they will still kill you like these sparrows. But rejoice in this: your Father isn’t like this world that will try and destroy you. Kingdom life is going to be so very difficult but take heart! The Father is faithful. Nothing happens to the sparrow nor you that will escape His view. Do not fear those that know nothing. Trust in the Father that knows you and is always with you.”
No matter what happens in your life, the Lord is there. The Father is not like those who have left you, labeled you, hurt you, or broken you. These things are going to happen to you. Such is the life of a believer and carrier of the Gospel.
But do not be afraid. Your Father is with you.