This article on Matthew 13:44 is about the connection between the treasure of the kingdom and faith in Jesus Christ.

Source: Clarion, 2014. 2 pages.

Denying Yourself for a Field

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Matthew 13:44

The day had gotten off to a rough start. Rabbi Jesus had healed a man troubled by a demon. What a show! All the people wondered if Jesus was the promised Son of David. The Pharisees, appalled by the thought, claimed Jesus was using satanic power. The Lord pointed out how that would be foolish and irrational.

However, the Pharisees would not let up. "Let this fellow prove himself," they thought. So they asked for a sign. Rabbi Jesus indicated the sign would come: like Jonah he would spend time out of sight (not in a fish but in the heart of the earth!) and then reappear. He also prophesied that the sign would not lead to repentance but to condemnation.

That same day Jesus went out to the lakeshore in Capernaum. The crowds drew close again. Were they hoping for another spectacular act? The Lord Jesus got into a boat. From a distance he taught the crowds, en­crypting his message in parables. Those who had Bible knowledge and faith would understand. Those who did not, but came merely for the sen­sation, would leave disappointed.

The Son of David, the Messiah of God, was not as spectacular as people had thought he would be. To make this point, the Christ told the parable re­corded in Matthew 13:44. It is a par­able about the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom that is ruled directly by God. This kingdom is treasure for it brings the shalom of God, much greater than the Pax Romana. It is about a world in which God dwells with man. It will be a kingdom with open gates for all enemies are gone. Sin will be no more. Suffering will be no more. Death will be no more. It is true treasure.

That God's kingdom is treasure was an accepted truth. The Phari­sees believed it. The crowds believed it. The disciples believed it. The "treasure" is not the point of the parable. It's what Rabbi Jesus said next. The treasure of God's kingdom is "hidden in a field." That is a start­ling piece of information.

The field is special on account of the treasure in it. However, because the treasure is hidden, the field looks like any other field. One would have to find the treasure to appreciate the value of the field. The Teacher told how it hap­pened to a man. Whether the man was working in the field or just walking by is immaterial. The important point is that in the ordinary field he found an extraordinary treasure.

Now the law back then was that treasure found in a field belongs to the owner of the field. Hence the man goes away, sells all he has to buy the field and so own the treasure. Here is the point of the parable. The man buys the field to own the treasure. He buys the ordinary to own the special. He denies himself for a field that to others is not special – they don't real­ize that there's treasure hidden in it.

The crowds wanted miracles: "Cast out another demon, Jesus!" The Pharisees wanted a sign: "Fellow, prove yourself!" Rabbi Jesus sat down and ... told stories. So nor­mal, so ordinary. Who would have thought this "field" hid "treasure?" Who would have thought this car­penter's son from Nazareth would be the Messiah of God?

Nathanael would not believe it at first. "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Yet a little later we hear this upright Jew exclaim: "You are the Son of God!" A Jew would never say that of a human being; Jesus was condemned to death for claiming it. But Nathanael is one of those who found treasure in the field.

In the history of redemption the treasure of God's kingdom has always been hidden: in Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the nation Israel, the tribe of Ju­dah, the house of David, in the womb of Mary. Christ himself was, for all appearances, normal. After Christ, it is still this way: many of those fol­lowers of Jesus were uneducated fish­ermen, simple men who stood at the start of the church. Today the field is the church, your local congregation, a group of ordinary people.

To own the treasure you need to own the field. To have the kingdom you need to have Christ. To be saved you need the church. How self-deny­ing are you when it comes to the field containing the kingdom?

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.