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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

MORE VALUABLE THAN SPARROWS

Luke 12:4-7 And I say unto you My friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (See Matt. 10:28-31)

Because of the overpowering influence the scribes and Pharisees had on the religious lives of the Jewish people, many, if not most of them, feared severe reprimands for hearing, believing, and following Jesus during His earthly ministry. Even before Jesus, this same fear pervaded throughout the nation, for all Jews that sought out and followed John the Baptist, who was the forerunner that prepared the way for Christ Jesus. In verses that preceded the lesson text, Jesus taught that they should repress their fear in hope of the future when the gospel of salvation would be proclaimed throughout the world beginning in Jerusalem.

Jesus continues this thought as He taught the vast multitudes that had gathered around Him. Speaking to His friends, He told them: Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. From this we should learn that all that hear and obey His teachings are His personal friends. And as such, He is more than willing to continually offer sound spiritual advice to all that rely on Him as their caring, reliable friend. When we become friendsof Christ Jesus,we are assured that we will be opposed by those that reject Him. However, Jesus gives us this spiritual advice. He told them, and He tells all of His followers today, that we should never fear those that call themselves His enemies, either by the things they say or do. He assures us that our common enemies, those that continue to follow the false doctrine of evil-inspired men, can, often did, and will continue to kill the body of those that accept and follow the doctrine of salvation offered by God through Him. Jesus is not telling us to taunt our common enemies in any manner that may cause open conflict and bring physical death. But He is telling us, by comparison, that the physical body of men and women has little worth when compared to the eternal value of the soul. After killing one's physical body, there is nothing more an enemy of Christ can do to prevent one's soul from inheriting eternal life in heaven. Matthew adds that the enemies of Christ and His followers are not able to kill the soul (Matt. 10:28).

However, Jesus does tell us whom Christians are to fear. Fear Him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell. God is the only one that holds the power over both the physical body and the spiritual soul. He is to be feared with awesome trembling. By rejecting God's Son as the promised Savior of the world, and without complete repentance for this sin, all men and women of the world will incur the wrath of God on the Day of Judgment, and their souls will be eternally lost. With this etched in our memory, Jesus gives us this warning to fear God: yea, I say unto you, Fear Him. The loss of physical life on earth is insignificant in comparison to the loss of one's eternal soul in heaven.

We know that God wants all men and women to be saved - He is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:9b). The concern of God, through His Son Jesus Christ, for the soul of each person on earth is true and sure, and was made evident in the following verses of the lesson text. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? One of the most insignificant birds known on earth, God provides for its daily sustenance, notices it as part of His wonderful creation, and is saddened when its life comes to an end. The all-knowing God has an exact count of each bird that comes into the world through His creation. In the sight of this same omniscient God, even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This tells us that God understands, and is in charge of, all things of great importance within the universe that He created. He also sees, knows, and is concerned about things that seem insignificant to the human mind. Thankfully it is true, but it is still hard to understand that God knows such small and trivial details as the number hairs on one's head, and still has compassion for the tears and suffering we human beings must bear. Considering His great knowledge of, and sympathy for, everything within His creation, we can truly appreciate His love for His children, for ye are of more value than many sparrows.