His Eye Is On the Sparrow (The Context of “Fear not” in Matthew 10:31)

Many of us take great comfort in Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:29-31, and rightly so.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Matthew 10:29-31)

But what is the context of that promise of God’s sovereign, fatherly care of His children?  Look at the preceding context in v.27-28:

What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 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.

He is primarily speaking of believers testifying to Jesus Christ and spreading His teachings.  Sometimes that testimony comes with a price – persecution.

What about the following context?  Look at v.32-33:

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Again, it is clear that the context is speaking in the name of Christ, testifying to His gospel.  That often brings persecution, sometimes even to the point of physical death.

Why are we not to be afraid?  Because persecution (and even martyrdom in some cases!) will not come?  No.  We are not promised that we will be shielded from persecution.  In fact, Scripture often seems to promise us just the opposite! (See John 15:18-21; 2 Timothy 3:12.)

We are not to fear because nothing can cut us off from the love of our heavenly Father in Christ Jesus (v.33; Romans 8:31-39).  Nothing.  And we are to rest assured that, whatever happens to us (especially in the ministry of the gospel!), it is all within the sovereign and loving control of our Heavenly Father.

So take comfort in the fact that if you are in Christ, you are greatly loved and valued by God (” . . .you are of more value than many sparrows. – v.31).  And take great comfort in the fact that not a hair can fall from your head apart from His will (v.30).

But remember those promises all the more when you are at work in any way sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ!


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