Summary: Five parables summarize for the Christian our relationship to the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 13: 44 – 52 / The Kingdom of God is like . . . (Part 2)
Intro: Have you ever wanted something? I mean really longed for it? Desired, needed, craved, hungered for something so bad that it hurt?
I. The first 2 parables deal with growth for seemingly modest or insignificant beginnings.
A. The Matthean community expected an early end to human history and was not greatly concerned with long-term growth. The parables expect God to intervene soon.
B. Parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven or yeast – growth from beginnings that are hardly significant. Not planning for growth or anticipating it.
C. 10/1947 – Dr. John Williamson – Tanzania – rain soaked road – digging in the mud he uncovered something strange a pink-like stone – a pink diamond – worth millions of dollars and sits in the Royal Scepter of Great Britain.
II. Next 2 parables, found only in Matthew, focus on the infinite value of god’s kingdom – should be ready to exchange everything in order to enter the realm of God.
A. Treasure hidden in the field (vs. 44) - often buried for protection - heavenly treasure is to be secured regardless of the cost in earthly terms – he actually did the honest thing by buying the field – he could have just kept the treasure.
B. The story of the jewel merchant (Vs. 45 – 46) – pearls were valued not for their monetary worth, but for the aesthetic qualities and their beauty. People bought them just to have them to hold and admire. – gazing ball.
C. God’s kingdom is prized beyond any commodity or good fortune imaginable. What would you be willing to “sell all that you have to possess? - hand in a jar holding on to something. Can’t get your hand out until you let go of what you’re holding.
III. The 5th parable is unique to Matthew and could be paired with the parable of the weeds among the wheat. Both stories tell of a mixture of the bad with the good that will be separated at the last judgment.
A. Drag net (sagene) trawl – net drawn to land and then the catch is sorted.
B. Jewish law forbade the use of anything that did not have fins and scales, so many of the netted fish would be thrown out because they did not meet the religious rules.
C. Like fish, people will be separated only at the final judgment. For the present all are eligible to be caught and no prior or premature judgments about their worth are to be made by humans. Only later will the bad be discarded.
Conclu: “Antiques Road Show” is one of my favorites. Recently, the show was in Tucson. A couple had inherited a blanket from an aunt that they really didn’t care much for but they brought it to the show to be appraised. The appraiser astounded them by telling them it was an original Navajo creation dating back to the 1800’s of which only 50 were know to exist and none in as good a condition as theirs. It appraised for $350,000. The couple later sold the blanket at auction for nearly ½ million dollars. – You never know who or what may be valuable to the kingdom of God.