Friday 14 October 2016

Bible Book:

“‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’” (v. 51)

Matthew 13:44-53 Friday 14 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 29


Here are four short parables, the last of which seems to be abrief reflection on all that has gone before it. The first threeall begin 'The kingdom of heaven is like ...' and the first twoseem at first glance to be making the same point. However, thedetails provide us with much food for thought.

In the first (verse 44) a man ploughing a field that is not hisown discovers treasure. He therefore sells everything to buy thefield knowing the riches that are hidden. This would appear to bean invitation to sacrifice everything one has for the sake of thegospel (the good news of Jesus) and to do so gladly. The secondparable (verses 45-46) tells a similar story of a merchant dealingin pearls. The difference, however, is that the merchant's searchfor riches is intentional. The invitation here seems to be to keepsearching for that which will cost you everything.

The third story (verses 47-48) seems to echo the weeds in thefield (Matthew 13:24-30) with a fishing rather thanfarming metaphor. Jesus explains that this is a picture of thefinal judgement when that which is not good enough for the kingdomwill be destroyed.

The final parable is offered in summary. We presume that thecrowd (Matthew 13:36) is still absent and it is thedisciples who claim that they have understood what Jesus has beensaying to them. Jesus' picture of an householder with a variedcollection of treasure points to the mixture of metaphors and ideasthat have been contained in this section of teaching. At the pointwhere those who are studying the things of God think that they haveunderstood they may still have much to discover.

To Ponder

  • Having read Jesus' teaching in Matthew 13 would you be as quickto answer the question 'Have you understood all this?' in theaffirmative? What stories in this section of the Gospel do you wantto return to, in order to try to learn more?
  • It is not clear that the actions of the ploughman in the firstparable were entirely legal and even if they were we might feelthat the landowner had been cheated. Can an immoral act stillreveal something of the kingdom? Why?
  • Having two parables making much the same point reinforces thecall to make sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom. Have you hadto give up a great deal in order to be a disciple? If so, what? Anddid you do so joyfully?
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