29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. 32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus here seems to be repeating His principle about worry as we read in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
But here, Jesus is taking it a step further. In the sermon, He was talking about not worshipping money and why there is no need to be concerned about “making enough” and seeking first the Kingdom of God. Here, Jesus is talking about being worried about our lives. Just before this Jesus explained that we should only fear God, not men (or women). Nothing happens in this world without God’s say-so. That’s hard for us to accept, especially since a lot of things happen that we don’t agree with. We live in a rotten world and bad things happen to good people. Yet Jesus is actually trying to encourage us here. If we trust in God and know that He has our best interests at heart, then regardless of what happens, we know we will be taken care of. Yes, there is sin in the world. There is death. “Innocent” birds still fall to the ground dead. Yet God has a purpose not just for life, but also for sin and death. Maybe we don’t want to trust God in these things we experience, but we must.
Whenever I read verses 32 and 33, I think about the original disciples who all fled when Christ was beaten and crucified. Peter, the rock, swore he would never turn his back on Jesus and denied Him thrice. The beauty of it though, is that Jesus redeems us if we recognize our sinfulness and repent. It seems almost frustrating when we read it in John 21:
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.
Jesus redeems us too, but He charges us to confess His name before others. Notice how Peter’s restoration and redemption resulted in Jesus’ charge of him to care for others? Maybe Jesus isn’t calling you to confess Him before others by way of becoming a pastor, but we are all charged with telling others of God’s Kingdom now being available to all who are willing to enter.
When you read verse 31, what do you think? Do you really believe that to God you are more important than many sparrows? I love Psalm 56, which reminds us of God’s love for us and the importance of us to love Him more than we fear man:
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; Fighting all day long he oppresses me. 2 My foes have trampled upon me all day long, For they are many who fight proudly against me. 3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? 5 All day long they distort my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They attack, they lurk, They watch my steps, As they have waited to take my life. 7 Because of wickedness, cast them forth, In anger put down the peoples, O God! 8 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? 9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, In the LORD, whose word I praise, 11 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. 13 For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God In the light of the living. (emphasis mine)
God is so much more for us than we give Him credit for yet we don’t truly believe it in our hearts because we compare Him to mankind. We take all the evil others have done to us and maybe even all the evil we have done and we ball it up and attribute it to God’s character. We completely distort who God is in our minds and then forsake who He really is and who we are because of Him.
Here is a song about Psalm 139, which speaks of God’s love for us and that even when we are going through difficulties in life, He is with us.