Summary: How can someone become a citizen of God’s kingdom and a member of His family? Through Matthew alone of the Synoptic Gospels, he preserves: 1) The Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44), 2) The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value (Matthew 13:45–46

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Buried treasure is the stuff of popular stories (a more colorful equivalent of winning the lottery today), but also in the ancient world a more realistic possibility than it is today, even with the help of a metal-detector. Before banking was generally established, to hide wealth in the form of coins, metals or jewels in a jar or box in the ground was a recognized way of securing it, especially in times of crisis; the famous Copper Scroll from Qumran Cave 3 lists the locations of huge caches of precious metals and other buried treasure (perhaps hidden in anticipation of the Roman invasion (France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (540). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.)

Matthew 13 contains a series of parables, true-to-life stories that teach spiritual truth. The Greek word “stories” (13:3), or “parables,” suggests the idea of comparison. Parables often place two concepts, one known, the other unknown, side by side for comparison...Although parables are fictitious stories, they present content and situations that are true-to-life. Parables contain wisdom elements, making them, in some ways, much like the Old Testament proverbs. They show how the truth being taught relates to the hearer, who, but for keen and obedient hearing, might well miss the parable’s personal implications (13:9, 43: cf. 2 Samuel 12:1–7). In order to properly interpret parables we must: (1) Know the original setting in which the parable was given is important for understanding its intended meaning. The known must be understood to make the transference to the realm of the unknown. (2) The central problem of the parable must be discovered. The parables were designed to deal with a particular problem or question. This can usually be discovered from the immediate context or related verses. (3) The central truth of the parable must be determined. Most of the parables focus on one central truth. Even those that have multiple points of comparison are usually designed to answer one question. Why did Jesus teach in parables (Matt. 13:10–23) There were two major purposes: (1) to reveal truth to the receptive (13:11–12) and (2) to conceal truth from the unresponsive—those who rejected Jesus (13:13–15). In addition, Jesus’ use of parables fulfilled prophecy, for Psalm 78:2 predicted that the Messiah would teach by this means (Matt. 13:34–35). (Hughes, R. B., & Laney, J. C. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary. The Tyndale reference library (408). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.).

In the first four of the eight kingdom parables in Matthew 13, Jesus focuses on people’s various responses to God’s kingdom, on its present coexistence with Satan’s kingdom, and on its power and influence in the world. The four preceding parables show how the kingdom is bestowed (sowing seed) and how it operates (growing, permeating). Now Jesus shows how it is acquired (Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (541). Minneapolis, MN.: Augsburg Publishing House.).

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