I will ·show you [warn you about] the one to fear. Fear the one who has the ·power [authority] ·to kill you and also [L after the killing] to throw you into ·hell [L Gehenna; C a valley outside of Jerusalem where in the OT period children were sacrificed to a pagan god; later used as a burning trash heap; a metaphor for hell]. Yes, this is the one you should fear.
“I tell you, as friends of mine, that you need not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but afterwards cannot do anything more. I will show you the only one you need to fear—the one who, after he has killed, has the power to throw you into destruction! Yes, I tell you, it is right to stand in awe of him. The market-price of five sparrows is two farthings, isn’t it? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, the very hairs of your heads are all numbered! Don’t be afraid, then; you are worth more than a great many sparrows! I tell you that every man who publicly acknowledges me, I, the Son of Man, will acknowledge in the presence of the angels of God. But the man who publicly disowns me will find himself disowned before the angels of God!
“I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
Here’s whose opinion you should be concerned about: the One who can take your life and then throw you into hell! He’s the only One you should fear! But don’t misunderstand: you don’t really need to be afraid of God, because God cares for every little sparrow. How much is a sparrow worth—don’t five of them sell for a few cents?
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