Summary: This sermon tells of the buried treasure inside of you, your own understanding, knowledge, and God’s truth. You should share your treasure with others and bring others to Him so when the end comes, we will all live in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:44 – 52 reads, “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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, which, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to the shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
These four parables that Jesus has just told his disciples have now wrapped up His whole sermon on what the kingdom of God is like and who will and won’t be part of that kingdom. Jesus’ previous parables in this sermon used images that related to the people to whom he was speaking. It was most likely that they were poorer people, or at least what we would call middle class farmers and peasants. He talks about the planter of grain, weeds, and mustard seeds.
Jesus also talks to the women in the crowd who mostly were the cooks in the household and probably were the wives, daughters, or mothers of these farmers. He tells them about bread and how the woman prepared it. And then Jesus switches to these parables that we read about today. He switches from talking about every day items in farming and the household and he changes to talking about treasure, how we find it and what we do with it.
I’m sure that the disciples on that hillside or shoreline that were listening to Jesus may have gotten bored with the agricultural talk but they probably perked up when Jesus talked about buried treasure. Jesus, the master teacher and communicator, got their attention with something they had an intense interest in. I’m sure the disciples, especially Judas, were tired of living hand-to-mouth. They were probably thinking, “After all these crowds, it’s about time we get some more money.” But it wasn’t the treasure Jesus was focused on. Jesus compared finding this treasure to the kingdom of God or what we might call, “The rule or reign of God.”
During a time when there was a lot of oppression and taking advantage of the poor, people were longing for God to come and take over. People wanted to hear about when God would come and rescue them from the suffering and injustices that they faced. People wanted to hear about this kingdom of God.
Jesus was telling His disciples how to speak about this kingdom of God to the people they met every day. It would be the same as our Sunday school’s teaching us how to talk to people that we meet about salvation and God’s promises in the language that they speak. This ‘translating’ that we do is so that people can understand the Gospel in the language that they speak. Our job as Christians is not to impress people by fancy words like, “expiation, justification, mortification, and propitiation.” Our job is to help people understand it in their language, how they would understand it so that it may bring them to the full life in Christ.
This was part of the controversy of the 1300’s when the Catholic Church persecuted Christians who translated the Latin into the common English of that day. The language that the every day normal person could understand. It is that same idea behind the parables that Jesus was using to explain what God and His coming kingdom was like. Jesus is training His disciples how to speak the people’s language about God. Let’s look at the next one about treasure.
For many generations in that part of the country, landowners buried their wealth in gold, silver, pearls, and currency. What we would consider hiding under the mattress or keeping in the safety deposit box, they put out in their field. There were no banks or loan offices, so the landowner’s memory of where “X” marks the spot was as good as they got to a PIN number at the local ATM.
What got the disciples’ attention even more in this parable was that it was just an ordinary man, not the landowner, who found this treasure. Many of the people who were listening to Jesus could immediately put themselves in that worker’s spot. There were always rumors of gold and treasure being found in some field and then that person bought the field so that they could have the treasure. It must have been some treasure because Jesus says that the man, in his state of excitement, keeps the treasure hid and sells all that he has to buy the field with the buried treasure.