Luke 12:6 (ESV) … “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.”
Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, knowing he would be betrayed and crucified. He was thus illustrating what he taught here. The hypocritical religious leaders would get him. They would kill him. But they could not stop God’s plan in his life. He called his disciples to take up their cross and follow him to death. If they remained true to Jesus, the religious leaders would kill them, too, as we see in the Book of Acts.
So Jesus gives a lesson on fear to his disciples. Jesus teaches that fear should have another object. Who can do more than kill the body? Who can bring eternal punishment in Gehenna? (See “Deeper Discoveries.”) Behind this stands Jesus’ basic assumption. Life on this earth is not what is important. Eternity should be our focus. Anything or anyone whose power is limited to this world deserves no attention. The one with power to determine your eternal destination deserves your focus. That is very limiting. God alone has authority over eternity. So, fear God and ignore everyone else.
Let us illustrate the point from the opposite perspective. Think not of the most powerful force on earth. Think of the weakest thing on earth. Can anything be weaker or less significant than a few birds worth maybe two cents? Literally, they are worth two small coins, each of which is worth one sixteenth of a denarius. A denarius was the ordinary wage for a full day’s work by a day laborer.
But look at God! He knows every one of the sparrows and cares for the daily fate of each one. Compare this to yourself. God knows how many hairs are on your head. Yes, he cares for you in this world and in the world to come. You are valued! Fear and reverence the one who values you, not the one who opposes you.