Summary: A fresh look at these parables, that leads us to better understand God’slove and grace towards us
Three parables: the treasure, pearl & fish. Mt 13:44-52 WBC 1/9/2 pm
The good thing about parables
- had lots on parables. Want to re-visit because God has re-visited me on it! These ones
That’s the great thing about parables
- so much in them. As many ‘truths’ as there are facets
- So good for the HS to ‘continue to lead you into all truth’
MT 13:52 He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
- = very best way to learn. Let the individual do the
- inquiring. Asking questions. Coming to conclusions.
- = certainly true that for many people (children) if you tell them to do something, believe something… it’s counterproductive
The traditional interpretation
Almost puts these parables in reverse order:
- hell is a real reality. The fish are going to be separated… and it is possible you might be on the wrong side SO
- get converted
- get serious
- get telling others
- go get the treasure and pearl
- ie start with fish (judgement, fear) and then go to the good bit, the pearl/treasure
OR, the most gracious we get is:
- we’re the merchant
- there’s this treasure, this pearl… and when you find them you WILL just be so overjoyed (true!) that you will want to give up everything you have to possess them so
- go searching now
- pursue the Kingdom of God, now.
- It’ll be worth it
- Hunt hard, because the rewards are out of this world
- Give and give up so you can possess what is of eternal worth and eternal joy
Of course, all of these aspects ARE true in one sense
- it is true you only get out what you put in
- need to put God first. Joy comes with that
But the motivation to DO this often evades us… or runs out
- “I’ve been seeking so long and now I’m just tired”
- And so does the joy. It’s chicken and egg. Which comes first the joy or the pursuing?
- We put the pursuing in first
- (true, eh: seek the Lord that He may be found)
- but our faith really becomes one of WORKS, best summarised by the phrase ‘work harder’
- we know it’s about grace… but we’re so eager to do good, seek and find… please Him… find this treasure… joy
- that it really becomes about WORKS rather than GRACE
- and God becomes the divine Hoover. Always sucking more.
- And we pull ourselves up by our boot laces to ‘press on to know the Lord’ singing ‘don’t let my heart grow cold, I’m calling out, light the fire again’
Actually –this ‘WORKS’ approach CAN be more damaging than we think, long term
- not only is it the gospel turned upside-down
- but eventually we become
- unwilling to ‘go for it’ with the Lord, because our ‘going for it’ has just meant our ‘get up and go’ has ‘got up and gone gone’
- immune to the challenge to really get serious with God… go on with Him
- even when the word/challenge comes right from Him!
YES- we love the Lord, we want to follow Him, but
- if we’re honest it takes second place (to fun, family and other things)
- we are cool to challenge about ‘commitment’. Giving more to him
I’m exaggerating- but this is a very real experience for many. For some of you.
- Illustr: Sheena. ‘Challenged out’
- Illustr: Steve and Gwen, Richard, have stopped going to church
- Illustr: someone else (last week). Just gave up
Of course, this is not what these parables are saying, or produce if rightly applied: but if
- we put the fish (fear, law)
- then see ourselves as the merchant hunting for the pearl (which is the KOG)….
… this CAN be the result.
A fresh look
But, let me use Jesus’ approach to
- help you gain fresh insight into these parables
- ie ask you questions- so you can discover the answers for yourselves
It doesn’t tell us who the merchant is. It just says ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like’. Like what? Like the pearl? Like the process?
So- who might the merchant be?
… who else?
- answ: God
In which case: what is the peal that the merchant is searching for
- (or WHO is the pearl the merchant is searching for?)
- answ: you!
So: what is the KOG like?
It is like God… the Father… Jesus… the shepherd… seeking for a precious pearl