One of the beautiful things about Scripture is that you can read the same passage year after year and still learn something new from it. The depths and richness of the Word of God means that there are always new treasures to uncover; there is always new lessons to be learned.
Recently, the reality of this was brought home to me as I read through Matthew 10. In verses 26-33 we have recorded two familiar passages. In the beginning of this section, we read of Christ’s admonition to His disciples regarding the proper perspective on fear. He teaches them that while the world may fear those who have the power to kill them, they would do well to instead fear the all-powerful and all-knowledgeable God – the One who has their present and their future in the palm of His hands. In the adjoining verses, however, we stumble across another familiar section of Scripture when Christ talks about the Father’s care for His kids. He reminds the disciples that God cares about the sparrows that fall; He certainly is concerned with them.
Reading this passage it may seem like an odd juxtaposition. Just after Jesus talks about how people should fear God, He talks about how much God loves them. Right after He warns them regarding their eternal destination, He encourages them about their Earthly care.
While it is tempting to see this as a dichotomy, I don’t think it is. Instead Christ is concisely revealing two marvelous aspects of Who God is. God is awe-inspiring and majestic; and God is loving and kind. God is the proper object of our worship and allegiance, and He is the only conduit of true love. Our eternity is in His hands, and through the nails that pierced His skins, He provided a way that we can spend eternity with Him.
In our humanity we tend to emphasize one aspect of God over another. We exalt His justice or we revel in His love. Jesus taught us that both these things are true of God, and because of it, we should fear Him, and rest in Him all at the same time.