Like much of the teaching of Jesus, the story is simple but the message profound. Here the story is almost a one liner but when we think about its message, it affects us all.
The parable is as follows;
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)
When all is said and done, there is just one ultimate lesson from this story – the treasure is worth everything. Whatever the treasure is, it is worth losing other ‘things’ in order to gain it.
Let us consider some of the details of the story; a man is working in a field presumably as a tenant farmer, cultivating the land. During his work, he encounters hidden treasure, we are not told what the treasure is, merely that he re-buries the treasure and goes away.
We should not be concerned about who owned the treasure, or where it came from, or even the morality or otherwise of acknowledging his find to the owner. The matter of ‘selling all’ might be considered to be foolish and irresponsible but the message is one of contrast. Here is a man who had possessions but who saw them as worthless compared to the value of the hidden treasure.
What then is this treasure of such great value?
Jesus said that it was the Kingdom of Heaven, but what is that and how can we search in order to find it?
In the other gospels, the phrase ‘the kingdom of God’ occurs instead of the kingdom of heaven. These two phrases seem to be interchangeable. It is probable that Matthew as a Jew writing to fellow Jews, would not have used the actual Name of God, a practice still common today in Judaism.
The kingdom of Heaven is the rulership of God over the whole universe, a situation which could be called the true dominion of The King.
Upon finding the great treasure, the man in the story is overcome with joy. The result of this is that he goes and sells all that he has in order to buy the field where the treasure is buried. For the one who finds this great treasure – the knowledge that Jesus is to establish God’s Kingdom with peace and righteousness – there is overwhelming peace of mind, there is joy indescribable and there is excitement beyond compare.
In order to survive the uncertainties and fears of this life, one needs faith in the future. When faith has been found, there is joy for evermore, a joy that knows no ending, joy that makes it all worthwhile to sell in order to possess that great treasure.
The hidden treasure of the parable is the Gospel that can only be found in the Bible. The hidden treasure of the parable is the Gospel that can only discovered by careful reading and serious consideration.
Here are some ideas to help us in our search for the ‘hidden treasure’;
1. Recognise that the social, historical, and cultural environment of a biblical passage differs from that of today and then try to understand a passage in that context as well as our own.
2. Study every passage within its context. This includes both a text’s immediate setting (the verses around it) and its relationship to the whole passage.
3. Ask questions, beginning with; ‘Who is writing to whom, about what?’
a) What does it say about God?
b) What does it say about Jesus?
c) What is its relevance for me & what guidance is there for my life – today?
The secrets of the Bible can be discovered, but they require patience and effort. If we wish to really understand what God is telling us in His word, we need to read carefully, asking appropriate questions and taking note of the simple message.
‘Read prayerfully, read with humility, study with care yet with persistence – until the treasure is gained!’
- For The Love of Stuff
- Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love
- Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries
- Matthew 13:44 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Treasure
- Matthew 13:51-52 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Teacher Uses New and Old
- Hidden Treasures
- A treasure which can give me everything I need
- An uncovering book to explore
- Material gain to honour God
- chiasm: Matthew’s Gospel
- The Treasure and the Pearl
- The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
- The Hidden Treasure
- The Parables of the Hidden Treasure, Valuable Pearl and Net (Matthew 13:44 – 52)
- “I Found It”
- Estate Sale
- Kingdom Discoveries…
- The Kingdom of God is Like… (7 Short, Informative Kingdom Parables)
- 2 Parables of the Kingdom from Planting
- One foot in the world, one foot in Christ.
- Materialism — Will possessions and riches make it difficult to enter God’s country?
- Reading The Bible