Parables about the Worth of the Kingdom
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matthew 13:44)
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure is found in a section of Matthew that includes a number of parables about the kingdom. Matthew calls it the Kingdom of Heaven, while the other synoptic Gospel (Mark and Luke) calls the Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. This is due to the audience God uses Matthew to speak to – a predominantly Jewish audience. There is no difference between these kingdoms – they are the same. Matthew respects that the Jews would not say YHWH (God) due to the 3rd Commandment from the law handed to Moses by God (Exodus 20:7).
What are the synoptic Gospels?
These are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke in the New Testament, which present similar narratives of the life and death of Jesus Christ. These three are similar in structure, content, and wording that they can easily be set side by side to provide a general comparison of their content. The Gospel According to John on the other hand has a different arrangement and offers a different perspective on Christ. With a large amount of shared content, (appearing in two or all three), it prompts us to ask what the relationship between them is. The diagram below helps to show the content relationship.
The majority of scholars have Mark being the oldest of the Gospels, with a large amount of Mark being used in the other two Gospels. Luke and Matthew then share an eyewitness source or sources that are not found in Mark, plus eyewitness sources that are unique from themselves.
All four Gospels are used by God to show the Good News of Christ to the world.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
We are a little bit removed from the earthly story living in a world with banks and home security systems. The earthly story in the 1st century would have been a relatable story, familiar to many.
The man accidentally finds, re-buries, and purchases the field. We can identify that the hidden treasure represents the kingdom. What moves us to learn something new with this earthly story is the shock factor Jesus includes. This helps us hear and see the abstract truth of this parable. The treasure buried in the field is worth everything the man has.
Nothing in this world can equate to the value of the kingdom – it is worth everything we have. Not money, gold, diamonds, or rubies. This is because we have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God’s own son. At the heart of the kingdom is the ransom that’s been paid for its citizens. We are to recognise the size and magnitude of that message – the Gospel message!
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13)
The kingdom of darkness is the alternative to God’s kingdom. It is where we are rescued from, through the forgiveness of our sins. Matthew 7:13-14 reminds us that there is a narrow and there is a wide gate. The wide gate leads to darkness and destruction, but it is this one that most of the world travels through daily.
What does this show us about Satan’s lies?
- That for so many people the kingdom remains hidden, and the true value of the kingdom is distorted
The Parable of the Pearl
Reading Matthew 13:45-46 what represents the kingdom in this parable?
- The Pearl (one of great value)
Here the message is the same as the parable of the Hidden Treasure, the pearl (the kingdom) is worth everything we have.
What makes a pearl more expensive than another pearl is the roundness of the pearl and the clear, pure whiteness, (no yellowish tinge).
With the message of both these parables (the hidden treasure and the pearl), being the same, what is the difference between these parables?
- The Hidden Treasure was accidentally found, while the merchant knew what they were looking for
Jesus is emphasizing the message to His disciples, that they, those that have heard and seen the Gospel and believed it – those that know the kingdom – have an even greater sense of the value of the kingdom. That as a citizen of the kingdom of God we know that there is sacrifice, a cost of discipleship, and if we’re not careful or aware it might be easy to lose the value and joy we have in the kingdom. Rather, instead, we are to know that the kingdom’s value is worth everything, worth it all – worth all of us! We are therefore the kingdom’s ambassadors as we follow Christ!
What things might we have to sacrifice in life to become a Christian?
- The price of repentance
- The price of complete submission to the will of Christ
- The price of putting the kingdom first in our lives
Our response to the Gospel, and how we live our lives as Christians, demonstrate our true valuation of the “treasure” of the Kingdom of heaven!