The Parable of the Hidden Treasure might not mean what you think it means. You’ve been there. You read your Bible, and the stories become formulated in your mind. You think you understand. Then you start to study. Or God reveals truth in some other way. And you’re blown away.
That happened to me the other day. Lately I’ve been reading Jesus’ parables. For many years I have held a soft spot in my heart for one or two short parables. I was smiling gently over one when I decided to study it. Many commentaries and Bible dictionaries line my shelf, but I mostly choose the ease of online study tools. While mining for truth on Blue Letter Bible, I found Chuck Smith’s sermon notes for this verse:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44 NKJV
How many times have you read that verse? Do you picture it in your head? I always looked at that verse and thought the kingdom of heaven is a treasure to search for like no other. Smith says the verse is revealing something else. Maybe it’s now the Parable of the Hidden Illustration? I was so impacted that I couldn’t hold back the tears. I will attempt to paraphrase the bare bones of the notes, but you should read them for a better understanding.
A Different Depiction
In using a law of interpretation called expositional constancy, he explains that when Jesus says a word in a parable represents something, then that word always represents the same. When Jesus is explaining the parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13:24-30,37-43), He says the field represents the world (verse 38).
In the parable of the Buried Treasure, Smith says the field also represents the world. If that is so, then who sells all to buy it? God.
The world was God’s to begin with, as He created it:
The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1 NKJV
Then God gifted it to man:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 NKJV
Then when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they forfeited their possession of the earth to Satan. They became his servants and he then owned everything they had:
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Romans 6:16 NKJV
Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth was to redeem it back to God. (God gave the earth to man, and man gave it to Satan. Although sin played a huge part in this.)
When the devil tempted Jesus, he took him to a mountain with the view of all the kingdoms of the world along with their glory. What did Satan say?
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Matthew 4:9 NKJV
Jesus didn’t argue with him, because it was true that Satan had them in his possession to give. (Jesus also called him the prince of this world in John 12:31 and 14:30.) The devil was tempting Jesus with a shortcut to obtain the world, if only He would bow down and worship him.
But Jesus didn’t bow down to him. He obeyed God, and became the sacrifice. God is the one who was after the treasure. God gave everything (the sacrifice of Jesus), to buy the field (world), and acquire the treasure (you).
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV
You are God’s treasure, beautiful friends. YOU.
What is your favorite parable? I would love to know! Leave a comment below and tell me!
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