Matthew 10:29

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?
and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

~ Matthew 10:29

The verse that now occupies our attention is certainly worthy of our meditation. On first notice, we deem that sparrows are near worthless creatures, (five could be had for a halfpenny according to Luke 12:6), and that God takes notice when even one falls to the ground. From this, we glean that God has knowledge of all His creation, taking notice and interest of the least of His creatures and that He is brought into sympathy with them.

These thoughts are the froth and cream of the verse and not strong meat sufficient to strengthen us for a forty days journey (1 Kings 19:8). There is more here than an incidental omniscience. Here the sovereign power of God is extolled. Let us take a few moments to fix our meditation here and be profited thereby.

In the first place, I wish to consider the context. In this tenth chapter, Christ is preparing His apostles to go out to work. “He gave them power” (Matthew 10:1), and He tells them to “Go… And as ye go, preach… freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:6-8). They are going to do the Lord’s work. He said, “Behold, I send you forth” (Matthew 10:16).

Christ further prepares them by giving them a warning, “But beware of men” (Matthew 10:17). He promises that they will suffer persecution. They will be cast out, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22). The path of righteousness is attended with hardship and trials for those who tread its narrow way. Christ tells them plainly that they can expect trials. However, in our text, the Lord is encouraging His apostles and makes an appeal to the sovereign power of God.

We have already seen some reasons why this verse contains more than a casual, or even intimate, knowledge of God of His creation. This is further evidenced by reading verse 31, “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” There is an obvious connection between the two verses. Christ intended the truth proclaimed in verse 29 to allay the fears of the apostles. He said, “Fear ye not therefore.” Just knowing that God had knowledge of them could not sufficiently relieve the fears of the apostles and embolden them for fervent service in the face of difficulties. I believe that Christ gave the apostles two things here, the first, to make them God-centered instead of self-centered, and the second, to increase their faith.

The first truth is about the sovereignty of God in His creation. Sparrows are essentially worthless to humans, but not so to God. Christ said, “And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” It is not just that God takes notice when the least of His creatures die, but He is active throughout the span of their life. He wills their birth and wills their death. Not one sparrow shall die until the time appointed by God. Not only this, but He sustains their life, “your heavenly Father feedeth them” (Matthew 6:26). Furthermore, their life, from beginning to end, fulfills His purpose.

There’s not a sparrow, or a worm, But’s found in His decrees;
He raises monarchs to their throne, And sinks them as He please.

We see God seated high upon His throne, ruling and reigning over the least to the greatest of His creation.

Let the whole race of creatures lie Abased before their God;
Whate’er His sovereign voice has formed, He governs with a nod.

The second truth is about the loving-kindness of the benevolent heavenly Father. Notice in our text that Jesus says, “Your Father.” He speaks of the base sparrows and yet says, “Your Father.” He shows God’s hand in feeding the fowls and yet He says, “Your heavenly Father” (Matthew 6:26).

The sparrow fulfills the design of its maker and is dependent upon Him from first to last, but the sparrow’s relationship is only as creature to creator. Not so with the child of God! Jesus declares that He is “your Father.” If the sparrow is in His hands, how much more is His beloved child? God has determined our beginning and end and He will sustain us all the way.

The apostles could take comfort in these truths, especially while serving Him. No matter how fiery was their trial, they could rest in the power of God and His love for them. Their duty was to proclaim His glory. May we receive grace and strength from God to “Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:3). Amen.

Matthew 25:18

“But he that had received one
went and digged in the earth,
and hid his lord’s money.”

~ Matthew 25:18

Our text is a part of the parable of the talents. The Lord gave this parable to teach that not all servants have the same abilities. He taught that all servants are expected to work and equal diligence is equally rewarded despite differing gifts and gain. The wise man in the parable distributed his goods to his servants. “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” He administered the goods according to his servants’ ability to manage and use them. Though their amounts were different, they were each responsible for what they possessed. We see a difference in the greatness of the responsibilities, but no difference in the reality of the responsibility to each servant.

The parable tells us that a particular servant received one talent, one-half as much as another received and only one-fifth as much as even another servant received. Upon receiving the goods, the servants each set to work and began to gain. However, the servant in our text “went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” From the judgment of his Lord, his error did not lie in not having as much as the others, but in the fact that he did not use what was entrusted to him, rather he buried it. Now, let us consider the actions of the unfaithful servant in our text and receive instruction from our Lord.

In the first place, we notice that burying the talent was not an impulsive or rash decision. According to verse 19, it was “a long time” before the Lord returned and reckoned with his servants. The servants were given plenty of time to make use of their capital. Even if he went out and buried it at first, he had plenty of opportunity to make good. He could have dug it up and redeemed the time. From his own testimony in verses 24 and 25, we see that he deliberated about his course of action.

He thought to himself, I could never gain five talents as the first servant. Surely, I could not gain two talents like the other servant when I have only one talent to work with. Furthermore, what if my enterprise fails and I lose it all?

He decided that having so little; he had better not risk the loss and displeasure of his Lord. He assumes his Lord will be more angry if he loses all than if he makes no gain. He confesses, “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” He was afraid and ventured nothing.

In the second place, we take notice of where the servant hid the talent. He “digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” He was not totally inactive. He went to great trouble to bury the talent. He “digged,” showing that he had some capacity to labor and “in the earth” was where he chose to bury his money. He chose the earth as a fit hiding place. I imagine that after the talent was “in the earth” for “a long time,” that it could not have been returned in the same condition in which it was given. It must have been stained with dirt and smelled earthy.

This language is very suggestive and symbolic of many Christians. The servant had been given a gift, which he was expected to use in his master’s service. He figured that his gift was small and there were plenty of others with more ability than he that would labor in the master’s cause. He gave himself a pass on greater responsibilities and hid his talent in the earth. How many Christians hide their talents in the earth? How many give their abilities to business, sales, recreation, acquiring possessions, houses and lands, instead of seeking to advance the cause of Christ? Just like the servants talent, they are sullied by the dirt of the world and smell earthy. Their works will not stand the test of fire, but will be burnt up. They themselves “shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Peter warned, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). I pray to God that we may be ready when our Master comes.

Lastly, we see that it is not enough to simply maintain what we have. We must seek to utilize what we have been given and gain and improve it for the glory of the Lord. The Lord explained that we must never be satisfied with the present portion. At the very least, “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury” (Matthew 25:27). If we try to just maintain and not to enlarge the Lord’s work, then we will waste the Lord’s substance. “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Proverbs 18:9).

We must not be satisfied to only hold the truth. Many make their boast of being sound, “but in works they deny him.” Jesus denounced the Pharisees because “they say, and do not.” We must be careful lest we “hold the truth in unrighteousness.” If we have received the truth, let us be thankful and careful to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10). Our conversation should “be as it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). We adorn the truth with godly, holy lives, and we shall be judged for our faithfulness and diligence.

Matthew 22:42

“Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?
They say unto him, The Son of David.”

~ Matthew 22:42

The Pharisees were always contriving questions to ask the Lord. They would word them very carefully to trick Him. They were trying to find anything that they might be able to accuse Him of wrong. Many times Jesus would have questions of His own to ask the Pharisees. He had just been asked about which was the greatest commandment and He answered the question very ably. He now turns the tables and asks a monumental question. “What think ye of Christ?”

We cannot overemphasize the importance of Christ and this question. All of history turns on this one, Jesus Christ. All of the future turns on Him. Your life will also turn on Him and this question. There is no more important question for an individual in life. Not, “What career are you going to pursue? Whom are you going to marry? When are you going to have children? What places would you like to visit? Or, How successful are you going to be?” etc.

The other questions we are faced with in life cannot be compared to the question the Lord asked, “What think ye of Christ?” He is that important. Simeon prophesied to Mary and said, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.” Christ testified to the Pharisees, “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Ma 21:44). The whole course of your life is determined in this question. “What think ye of Christ?”

A sore trial had sent the Baptist into despondency. From his prison cell, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the “Coming One” or if they should look for another. The answer that Christ gave them is important for our consideration. He said, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Ma 11:6).
The Baptist in his distressed state had found an occasion of stumbling in Jesus. John began to consider what he knew of Christ. He had preached to the people about Christ saying, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Ma 3:12). He had heralded the coming of a King. However, for some reason or other, Jesus had not played the part of King that John had supposed. Jesus just did not meet the expectations that John had. Fortunately, this was a passing moment of doubt with the Baptist. However, for others the doubt remains.

The Pharisees believed in the Messiah, but this Jesus of Nazareth was certainly not He. Jesus observed, “And ye will not come to ME, that ye might have life” (Jo 5:40). (Emphasis mine). Jesus just did not fit with the Pharisaic ideal. It almost seems that some of these questions were posed to help convince some of their own ranks that this was not the Christ. The Pharisees wanted the King to come. They were looking for the kingdom. Nevertheless, they “will not have this man to reign over” them.

How many have stumbled at Christ and His word? They reject Him, His word, and even His church because they just do not find them to be what they want them to be. The Pharisees were always comparing Christ with their own depraved ideas and finding that He did not measure up; they rejected Him and not their own system. Those that stumble at Christ will be ground to powder when the Rock falls on them.

So, “What think ye of Christ?” There is a great blessing for those that receive Him as He is. Can you just not believe in one you have not seen? Christ told Thomas, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jo 20:29). Realize that you reject Him to doom your own soul. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jo 3:18).

What about you Christian? “What think ye of Christ?” Have you found an occasion of stumbling in Him? Are you in any way rejecting Him or His word because they just do not fit with what you want? If your ideas do not agree with Christ, then leave them at once. Your life of service will turn on this question. Having put our hand to the plow, let us not look back. “What think ye of Christ?” He is the Son of God!