Summary: This sermon presents the salvation of national Israel as part of God’s prophetic plan
The Hidden Treasure
Text: Matthew 13:44
Introduction: We turn now to the fifth in this series of Kingdom Parables, and interestingly this parable marks a turning point in Jesus’ discourse. So far He has been detailing the development of Christendom, showing how the world is largely unfavourable to the gospel, how Satan has his plants within it, how the church became something other than it was intended to be, and how that not only deviance externally but also internally, particularly with reference to the doctrine of Christ. These parables He preached to the whole multitude, but after the fourth Parable he spoke to His disciples alone – vs 36.
You will be pleased to hear that for the moment at least His message is a little more positive. He speaks now of a Hidden Treasure. The common interpretation of this parable goes like this: the treasure in is "the Gospel" or “Christ”; the field in which the treasure is hidden is "the World"; and the man who sought and found the treasure is "an elect and awakened sinner." However popular these views are, there are problems with it.
First of all, in this parable the man finds the treasure. If we say the treasure is Christ and the man the elect we have the curious thought that Christ is lost and man has found Him. But actually that is a total reversal of Biblical truth, the truth is that man is lost and Christ finds Him! I find it amazing that Calvinists would hold to the notion that a lost man, dead in his trespasses and sins finds Christ. I know people often speak of finding the Lord, and whilst we understand what they are saying, the truth is that Christ was never lost! He found us! The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
Secondly, in this parable the man sells all he has to secure the treasure. This smells a little man-centred to me, it suggests some work on the part of man in coming to Christ. But again we know that salvation is of the Lord, the work is His, not ours.
Thirdly, is the idea that the gospel or Christ is hid. Well, we already debunked any notion of the gospel being hid when we discussed the Parable of the Leaven. Now, to say that Christ is hidden is some way seems also to be at odds with what we know of Him. From the way we date history, through to the celebration of Christmas and Easter it is hard to say that Christ is hidden in some way. He is, by far, the most famous, and foremost personality in the history of the world. He is not a hidden treasure. He is not in hiding. Paul says He is not far from every one of us. He is the Saviour of the world. As such He is willing to have all men to be saved and to come on to the knowledge of the truth. Hardly, the work of some mystery man or recluse.
Fourthly, when the man had found this treasure he hid it again! "The which when a man has found, he hideth." If the treasure represents the Gospel or Christ and the field be the world, and if the man who is seeking the treasure be an awakened sinner, then our parable teaches that God requires the awakened sinner, after he has found peace and obtained salvation, to go out and hide it in the world! What an absurdity. The Lord plainly told us to let our light, so shine before men that they might see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
So let’s take a fresh look at this Parable and see what we find.
The problems it would seem are insurmountable. This parable is not a picture of a sinner finding Jesus and doing what it takes to receive Him. Let us begin by identifying two elements of the Parable right away.
1. The "Field" – The field is mentioned in two of the preceding parables: the field in which the good Seed was sown, and the field that was over-sown by tares.
a.Verse 38 of this chapter tells us the field is the world
b. So, why would the field means something entirely different in this fifth parable of the same chapter?
2. The Man - Again, we have already had a "man" before us in the first two parables: a man who sowed good Seed in his field (v. 24). The Lord Jesus Himself has told us who that man is: "He that sows the good seed is the Son of man" (v. 37).
a. If, then, the man in the second parable represents the Son of man, why, in this fifth parable, without any word to the contrary, are we to understand Him to point to someone entirely different?