Our passage today will bring up several different types of desires and several types of satisfaction. Some are good, some bad and some neutral.
Jesus said we “are of more value than many sparrow.” Sometimes we think of this in isolation as a statement of how valuable we are in God’s eyes. After all, if not even a sparrow can fall to the ground apart from our Father, then we can rest assured that God cares for us too.
There is nothing absolutely wrong with those thoughts. Our heavenly Father does care. He is attentive to the smallest detail of our tiniest trouble. The big troubles mean even more to him, we can be sure. But let’s read the verses surrounding the sparrows along with the verses we love.
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Overall, they seem to be about not fearing in the face of opposition. What if I am tempted to deny Christ? We need to fear God rather than any human opponent. We should want Jesus to acknowledge us and know that he will, as long as we acknowledge him first. Christ is telling us we need to have a public faith.
What Jesus is saying is something like this: “You are valuable to your Father and mine, he cares about your smallest concern, but how valuable are he and I to you? Would you remain faithful to me even if it costs you something? Will you fear those who can only kill the body, but not fear God more?”
Let’s remember that if we are “worth more than many sparrow,” then Jesus is worth something far greater still. He is worth our very lives and even those lives are something akin to the penny paid for sparrows by comparison. Our worth is derivative; it comes entirely from him. Christ’s worth is original and derived from any other source. He can share his worth with all of us and still have infinite value left in himself.
Jesus fell asleep during a storm. Contrary to what his disciples thought, there really was nothing to worry about.
Mark 4.35-41.mp3 (Jake Medlong)