Today's Gospel in Art - Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny?

  • Patrick van der Vorst

The House Sparrow, 'Passer Domesticus', by Magnus von Wright © Christian Art

The House Sparrow, 'Passer Domesticus', by Magnus von Wright © Christian Art

Gospel of 21st June 2020 - Matthew 10:26-33

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: 'Do not be afraid. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.

'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.

'So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.'

Reflection on the Antique Ornithological Print

In today's reading Jesus is using the sparrows to make the point to His apostles why they didn't need to fear anything. So, why use sparrows to illustrate the point? Sparrows in Jesus' time were used as food because they were a threat to the crops. They were largely viewed as pests. Jesus makes the point that you could buy two sparrows for a penny, so they were the cheapest kind of meat around. But yet 'not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing', which means that what seems valueless and cheap to humans, is important to God. If God takes notice of the smallest and most insignificant birds, how much more will He take notice of the plight of all of us humans who want to serve him…

Today's illustration is a print depicting the house sparrow by Magnus von Wright (1805 - 1868), who started out his career in the 1820's as a taxidermist. Though a skilful taxidermist, his reputation is mainly as a zoological illustrator, as seen in today's print. The sparrow is a familiar little bird to all of us, and is a close neighbour in our urban and country settings. It is a sociable bird and favours areas of human habitation for nesting… a bird Jesus uses to make the point that God is looking after us and noticing all we do for Him…

LINKS

Today's story - https://christianart.today/reading.php?id=459

Christian Art Today - www.christian.art


Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Magnus von Wright

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