Once again we are in Matthew 13. As I said, there are 8 parables and we went through 2 parables the last time. Today we will be going through 3 more parables. They are short! And it’s interesting because all these parables here in Matthew 13 start with stating that it is illustrating about the kingdom of heaven!
- Verse 11 it talks about the kingdom of heaven.
- Verse 19 it talks about hearing the word of the kingdom.
- Verse 24 it talks about the kingdom of heaven is like a man that sowed good seed in his field.
- Verse 31 the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed.
- Verse 33 the kingdom of heaven is like leaven.
And now we pick it up in Matthew 13:44. We are going to read two of the three parables. Notice they both continue to talk about the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 13:44
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
- How are these two parables tied together? What is common between the two of them?
- They both find goods that are of high value.
- And they both sell everything that they have to obtain it.
Although they are similar in some parts, there are also differences between these two parables. What are the main differences?
- One was accidental. The man which found the hidden treasure was not actually looking for any treasure. He might have been hired to plough and work the field of someone else and just happened to bump into it. He was minding his own business. He was not seeking for treasure. It was just a normal day on a normal job.
- However, the other was seeking. The person was intentional. He was looking for the pearl of great price. He was on a mission to find the most beautiful and perfect pearl of them all.
Now let’s have a look at the parable of the hidden treasure. What does it mean? Who does the man represent?
- He represents us. Everyone in the world. But more specifically he represents people that are just going about their everyday duties, minding their own business. Just working their jobs and doing their studies. Nothing special or extraordinary about their circumstance.
- But all of a sudden, he hits this big piece of wood, and upon further digging and examination he finds this treasure chest! Enough jewels, gold and money in there to retire or make him filthy rich!
What does this treasure represent?
- Proverbs 2:2-4
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
- It represents wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
- The wisdom that God talks about it not the wisdom that we commonly talk about, such as wisdom for getting good grades, wisdom for getting a good job because we did well in an interview.
- The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. And God’s foolishness has much to do with the gospel and preaching and the power of God.
- The Bible’s wisdom has much to do with Jesus – the preaching of the cross.
- So the treasure represents the treasure found in the word of God. The gospel, the cross.
- What else does the treasure represent though?
- Colossians 2:3
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- Who is the “in whom” referring to there? Because in this person is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In this person is the hidden treasure!
- Just at the end of the previous verse, verse 2 – who is that referring to?
- Colossians 2:2
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
- It is referring to Christ! In Christ is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- So the is wisdom, knowledge and understanding and the field must be Jesus. And remember, it takes everything if you want to buy this field, if you want Jesus in your heart and life.
- But what is this preciousness that they see? What is this wisdom and knowledge and understanding that they see is so important? We will see that at the end of this study. But so far we know it is related to the cross, the gospel.
Now let’s have a look at the parable of the goodly pearl. What does it all mean?
- Obviously the pearl of great price is of high value like the hidden treasure. What does it also represent? Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, Jesus! They must represent the same thing right?
- But what is the main difference? This person is looking for the pearl. He is looking for Jesus.
- And when he finds what he is looking for, immediately he goes home and sells everything just to get that pearl of great price.
- So there are 2 groups. One is not searching. The other is.
However, in both parables, the person would go home and sell everything that they have. What does that mean to sell everything?
- Philippians 3:7-8
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
- It means to count all other things as loss so that we can gain Christ. Not many people put Christ in that category. It points to our priorities. How important is Christ to us?
- Well it depends on the value that we see in it right. Not many people see Christ as that valuable to us.
- Money is more valuable, it puts food on the table.
- Family is more valuable, it gives us community and acceptance. That is the same with our friends, even church friends!
- How is Christ and the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that He gives become so important or valuable? So much so that it becomes our first priority and aim that everything is secondary! We will see this at the end of the study.
- Let’s look at another example about our priorities.
- Mark 10:17-23
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
- Do you know that riches really change people? Sometimes the more we have, the tighter and more selfish we become, the less generous we become. We can get really possessive of our things!
- What was the reason why the rich young ruler did not want to sell everything? It was because he had many possessions. The more a person has, the harder it is to give up everything. The more we have, the harder it is for us to give it up for Christ.
- There is nothing wrong with getting things that are more expensive, or things that are higher quality, but it becomes wrong when you get possessive over it. When you’re not willing to help someone because of it.
- Your house is too expensive, and you’re scared to invite people over in case they ruin your stuff.
- Not willing to fetch people because your car is too nice and you’re scared it will ruin your car more.
- You have to get to the point where the thing you have isn’t going to stop you from letting anyone use it.
- What is the most important thing in your life right now? Sometimes it’s not possessions. It might be your children, your family, your spouse, your career, your degree. Figure out what it is. Share with each other what that is.
- Once you’ve figured it out, then ask yourself – “Is this more important than God?” Are they, or this thing, of higher priority than Jesus?
- Yes there needs to be a balance. But some people put their children more important than God. They can’t make it early to church or stay back after church because my baby needs to sleep. Can’t attend evangelistic seminar because my kids are not allowed to stay up late for this.
- We are willing to sacrifice our kids health sometimes because of a friend’s wedding or birthday or family event. But sometimes when it comes to spiritual things, the kids sleep time, health and studies all of a sudden become a higher priority.
- Are we willing to count all things loss so that we can gain that hidden treasure or pearl of great price? Are we really willing to sell all that we have?
- Have you seen the blessedness in Christ when you have found Him? Have you seen how special He is to you? Do you realise how valuable He is to you? Has there been a personal encounter with Jesus?
- Let me tell you, Mary had a personal encounter with Jesus. He saved her from the wicked priests who were ready to stone her.
- Zacchaeus had a personal encounter with Jesus as well. When no one else wanted to be his friend because he was a corrupt tax collector, Jesus came and ate at his house and accepted him and loved him.
- The paralytic by the pool of Bethesda has a personal encounter with Christ. So did blind Bartimaeus and the leper who came begging for healing. They saw Christ’s love and mercy towards each of them.
- And friends, it’s possible to be in church so long that sometimes we forget about our past and what we have been through or what Christ has saved us from. Or our experience becomes stale because the past year we haven’t had a personal encounter with Jesus. And so we forget. We forget about His goodness, His love and the blessings that He has poured out on each of us.
- This is why it’s important to praise God every day. I have a prayer journal and every day I make it a point it write down at least 5 praises. Sometimes it is more. But it’s important to keep in perspective the goodness and blessings and love of Jesus to each of us.
- Look at these texts about praising God.
- Psalms 34:1
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
- Psalms 35:28
And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
- Psalms 103:1-5
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
- If there is one thing that we can learn from the book of Psalms, is learning to praise God all the time! But even in the New Testament this is spoken of as well.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
- Maybe, just maybe you are sitting there thinking to yourself that your life is just so bad and there is so many horrible things that are happening to me that I cannot praise God. I just want you to pause and really pray and think about at least 5 blessings or praises. I am sure you can.
- You will quickly discover what a good God that we serve. Praise is so important, not because we need to praise God and worship Him. But it is a constant reminder about the living God that we serve and how He wants to bless us so much and give us so many wonderful things in life!
- So, have you seen how precious this treasure is to you yet?
Let’s continue and look at the last parable of the three that we were looking at.
- Matthew 13:47-50
47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
- How is this last parable related to the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl?
- Well, what does the net represent? The net represents the gospel that pulls in everything, the good and the bad. You see it is cast out into the sea and gathers people. Jesus makes us fishers of men. And just like how the gospel needs to be preached to everyone in the whole world (Matthew 24:14), people will come into the church but it doesn’t mean that all are saved.
- However, it is God that does the dividing at the end of the day, separating the good from the bad. But how does God determine who is the good and the bad? It doesn’t seem to answer that in this parable itself.
- But this is where we look at the two parables that we have studied already. Based on the previous two parables, what is the dividing line? It is based on whether we are willing to sell everything that we have. Whether we have prioritized God above all that we have.
- Both men in both parables did not hesitate to sell off everything just so that they could gain this treasure.
So how is the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that comes from God become such a precious treasure that people are willing to sell everything they have?
- You see, there is wisdom needed to find the right partner in life.
- You need wisdom to take care of your health. There are many people who would give up everything just to cure their cancer or health problems.
- You need wisdom as a mother to know how to train your children so they have a good character.
- You need wisdom to choose the right investment, what to buy and what not to buy, when to buy and when to sell. Some of these things are not all found in books.
- And ultimately, we need wisdom to lead a fulfilled life. And that life is found in Christ!
- There are so many things we never thought that we need wisdom, knowledge and understanding for until we reach that point where we have to use it. The wisdom we think of is the worldly wisdom. Scoring top grades in high school and university. But that doesn’t guarantee a successful life!
- Even the wisdom to know that you are wrong, that is very important to make peace in the home.
- The wisdom of meekness and humility.
Have you tasted of the goodness of the gospel?
- If you have, then this decision to put Christ first is not a hard decision to make at all. It is not about scaring you into heaven. But when you taste of the blessings and the value of the goodness of the gospel, you’d be dumb not to follow it.
- If you truly followed the gospel properly, then there would be so many blessings that come with it. God would open your eyes to see all the blessings. Yes simple blessings but they are blessings nonetheless.
- The blessing of being able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that this is where God wants you to be.
- Some of these things cannot be calculated in monetary terms.
Though it is the angels that separate the good from the bad at the end of time, it really is dependent on the decisions that we make today. After tasting of His goodness, why not learn to put Christ first and prioritize Him above everything? He is worth every bit of the sacrifice that we give.