The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
In this discussion about discipleship and living faithfully for God, Jesus calls his listeners to recognize that they are valuable. Though they might be challenged even to give up their lives for the kingdom of God, that does not mean their lives are not valued by the Lord and God who made them. Indeed, God sent Jesus because he wants everyone to be saved so that they might not lose their souls in hell (see 2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus also uses a word picture about sparrows. Sparrows were often sold in the marketplace, and you could buy five for just two pennies. People may have thought sparrows weren’t worth much, but Jesus says, “Not one of them is forgotten by God.” Then, to highlight how much more valuable his listeners are to the Lord, Jesus says that God numbers even the many hairs on their heads. “Don’t be afraid,” he says; “you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Many of Jesus’ listeners were poor and worn down; they often felt forgotten and worthless. The powerful, well connected, and religious elites virtually ignored them. But in God’s eyes, each person is so valuable that he sent his Son to save them.
Today is Ash Wednesday. As we think about Christ’s suffering and death (and our own unworthiness), we are called to remember that we are worth the death of God’s only Son. We are valuable, and God does not forget us.
Redeemer God, help me to realize today how much I am worth to you. Amen.
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