Parable of the Hidden Treasure
There are ten “Kingdom Parables”, and according to vv. 1-2 they were given by the seaside [Galilee]. V. 36 says Jesus sent the multitude away after delivering four of them, and then entered into a house and gave more info. and more parables to His disciples. Jesus continued to give more parables throughout the remainder of His ministry, and eventually we’ll look at all of them.
The first 4 parables were written to the multitude to reveal some things about God and His Kingdom, from man’s perspective. Fact is, they are negative in nature.
But don’t get the false idea that this is suggesting that God’s work will not triumph. It will! And for this reason God gives the disciples more explanation and more parables, which we begin now…parables of victory.
A quick overview of the next 3 parables: Look at I Cor. 10 on screen for something interesting…
1 Corinthians 10:32
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
In broad strokes the Lord paints the human race into these 3 groups. The next 3 parables will show us what the Lord is doing on the earth in relation to these 3 groups.
Pearl of Great Price—church
So, this parable is all about the nation of Israel. Do you stand with Israel? Does America? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
There's a promised blessing if we do and a curse if we do not.
The elements: the field, the treasure, the buyer.
The common interpretation, like many parables, is a mistaken one. This is because Christ used parables not only to reveal truth to those sincerely seeking it, but to conceal truth FROM those who aren’t open to it. I hear often from someone who has listened to one of our parable studies who doesn’t agree because they’ve always heard or taught it differently. They are revealing, sadly, that they don’t want to make sure they are right…rather, they want to believe they have always been right, thus they aren’t open to new truth.
This common misinterpretation is that Jesus and salvation are the treasure, and the man is a seeking sinner who sells all that he has to receive salvation. Of course, there are problems w/ this interpretation.
First of all, the man finds the treasure. But truth is, people don’t find Jesus, rather, He finds them. I know what you mean when you say you found Jesus, but in theological terms it’s not accurate, for if you come to Him it’s only because He found you, called you, and you simply are one who heard His voice and answered the call.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
When Adam sinned in the garden he hid, but God came looking for him. Aren't you glad God came looking for you?
A 2nd problem is that the man sells all that he has to purchase the field. Obviously this doesn’t send the right message about salvation by grace. It looks more like works that way. But many are trying to buy their way into heaven, sadly.
The 3rd problem: Jesus Christ is not a hidden treasure. He is the most prominent, best known personality in the history of the world. The world may blaspheme Him, hate Him, and reject Him, but one thing the world cannot do is ignore Him! One way I know He’s truly the only real God is that when people want to curse God they use HIS name. They don’t mention Allah, "Oh My Buddha," or anyone else! He is the first name on anyone’s mind when thinking of God, whether in cursing or in worship.
Irony: at the democratic convention a few years ago they argued over whether to put 'God' back into their platform. Why? Because it's not really about what specific name they want to call God...they don't want to even have to have that discussion, but hide Him away.
Well, He is not a hidden treasure. He is not hiding. He doesn’t want it to be difficult to find Him. Jesus wants people to be saved far more than they themselves want to be saved!
This parable is not a picture of a sinner finding Jesus and doing what it takes to be saved. So what is the correct interpretation?
The field is the world. The man is Christ Himself. The treasure is God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. The purpose of this parable is to show God’s working in His chosen people.
Consider with me Israel’s Favor, Failure, and Future…
This is an exciting couple of verses packed w/ dynamic Bible prophecy.
I. Israel’s Favor*
A. Israel is God’s chosen, favored people, a treasure chosen by God.
For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
God didn’t choose Israel because they were better, or more moral [they weren’t!], or more obedient…no, it was God’s sovereign choice to set them aside as His own peculiar treasure. And in doing so God has placed upon them His 7-fold blessing…
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption [God has made them His adopted family], and the glory [glory cloud—no other nation has ever had such a physical manifestation of God to lead them], and the covenants [unconditional promises God has made to them], and the giving of the law [the scriptures were penned by God thru the Jews, 40 of them], and the service of God [the leadership of the worship in the OT temple], and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers...
Truly, they are God’s special treasure.
Not only are they God’s chosen people, but…
B. Israel is God’s covenant people.
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
God is making a covenant w/ Abraham.
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
That last phrase reminds us of our parable, for the treasure was buried within the field, which is the world. Everything that is belongs to God, the entire universe, but His special creation, His treasure, if you will, was placed right here on earth.
[slide] Think about this: We’ve sent out spacecraft in 1977 that are just on the outer reaches of our solar system, that is the 9 or so big rocks caught in the gravity of one star, our sun. But the sun is just one of billions of stars in our galaxy. And they say there are billions of galaxies out there, and each year as better and better technology allows us to look farther and farther into space, we keep adjusting our estimates of the size of the universe. The nearest galaxy like ours [spiral] is 2.5 million light years from us. That means that if you travel at the speed of light [186,000 mps] it will take that long to get there…2 and a half million years. And that’s just our next door neighbor, the closest spiral galaxy.
Light speed is awesome to think about. Reflected light travels from the moon to the earth in 1.5 seconds. It took that light 8 minutes to get from the sun to the moon. It takes another 22 min. to Jupiter, and 30 min. more to Saturn. It takes another 3 hours to get to the edge of our solar system. Light is booking it, for our most sophisticated jets travel at mach 2, and would take over 200 years to go the same distance. The closest star is Alpha Centauri. But it would take light 4 years to get there…that only took 4 hours to get to the edge of our solar system. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is more than 13 billion miles away now, 44 years after launch. It travels at 40 thousand mph [1 million per day], and could go from NYC to LA in 4 minutes, but still would take 70,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri. As a measure of how vast space is, consider a model in which the Sun is represented by a large grapefruit; the Earth would be the size of a pinhead ten paces away and the next grapefruit (Alpha Cen) would be in Chicago! And then you’ve only gone 4 light years. You’d have to go 2.5 million light years to get to our next door neighbor galaxy, Andromeda, which is but one of billions out there.
I said all of that for 2 reasons: 1.] I love to think about it! 2.] To make a major point…
…from a secular, worldly perspective, this all means we are very small and insignificant.
Ill.—one scientist said, “Ours is a 5th rate planet, revolving around a 10th rate sun, in a forgotten corner of the universe.”
Where would you have to park your brain in order to make a statement like that? That reminds me of the guy who said to his wife, “You must think I’m a perfect idiot”, to which she replied, “Well, close, but nobody’s perfect!”
Only a perfect idiot would make such a statement as that scientist.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Earth is infinitely significant. It’s the only place where life is. They keep looking for it on Mars and other places, but Genesis says Eve was the mother of all living…case settled! The world and movies say that’s a big waste of space, but it just shows us how powerful and massive our God is and how much He loves us! We are His special creation made in His image. And it was on THIS planet that God came in the flesh and dwelt for 33 years, and died and rose to redeem us. God has a special plan for His special creation on planet earth!
The point is that of His special creation, man, it all centers on a hidden treasure, the nation of Israel. God wants to bless US and all nations of the earth thru Israel. In 1948 Israel became a nation, and preachers began proclaiming “keep your eyes on Israel” even when it seemed insignificant…I mean, we’re talking about an area less than 1/4th the size of our state, and yet it’s the center of the news each evening. It truly is the center of the spiritual universe! Someday soon the Creator and God of the universe will rule and reign from Israel, from the throne of David.
That’s Israel’s Favor…they are a chosen, covenanted people…
II. Israel’s Failure*
In this parable, the treasure is hidden in the field. Israel is the treasure, and the world is the field. We could say it like this: the treasure is out of circulation.
Now remember, the man is Christ. When Jesus came to earth 2,000 years ago what did He find? A hidden treasure, lost in this world. They were in failure. Their golden era had passed, they were living under the iron fist of the Roman Empire. Their leaders were corrupt, and the people were poor and miserable. They had been blessed by God and made a great nation, and under Solomon they were the perfect example of what a nation is meant to be. When the queen of Sheba visited she said wow, I’ve heard about this magnificent place, but the half has not been told! Those were the glory days, but over the years they lost most of what they were, and when Jesus visited it was not like that at all. They had no power and no purpose…it was just a buried treasure.
And for a period of time when Jesus walked the earth He uncovered the treasure, and let Israel know their true destiny.
... the kingdom of God is come unto you.
But they rejected their King.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Some say, I feel so sorry for the Jews--their Messiah came but they didn’t recognize Him and they missed out! No…this verse makes it clear they closed their eyes and ears to the truth, and willfully chose not to believe! So what did Jesus do? Just what the man did in the parable…He covered the treasure back up!
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
What happened there? They rejected Him, and He rejected them…and covered the treasure back up.
Their favor? They are God’s treasure! Their failure? They became a buried treasure.
III. Israel’s Future*
v. 44b The shocking part of this is that the man not only wanted to buy the treasure, but to buy the whole field. And in redeeming the whole field, He also regained the treasure which He found.
This is the beautiful language of the cross. Jesus gave everything He had…He emptied Himself and died for us! He was rich and became poor for our sake, so that we might be made rich in Him. Truly, Jesus paid it all!
Jesus died for the whole world. The entire field can be saved…but He died in a special way to redeem Israel.
…for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
God is not finished w/ the nation of Israel. One day He will reclaim His treasure. I realize some theologians say the church has replaced Israel, but it has not.
Ill.—a pastor put an article in the paper stating that on the next Sunday he would preach on the subject of “How to Destroy the Jews”. That caused quite a ruckus. That Sunday you couldn’t find a seat in the auditorium and right in the middle was a Jewish rabbi from the local synagogue. He was poised and ready for a fight. The pastor stood and said, here’s today’s main point of how to destroy the Jews, and then he read…
35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: 36 If those ordinances [sun and moon] depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
Everyone was amazed, the rabbi was grinning, and a powerful point was made. Nothing can destroy God’s people, Israel, not killing all male babies as Pharaoh and Herod tried, not burning their cities as Titus and others did, not the gas chambers or concentration camps of Hitler, and not a nuke from Mahmud "I'm a dinner jacket" [Ahmadenijad,] or anyone else!
Don’t misunderstand. As special as God’s people are, individual Jews are not saved automatically because of their Jewry. They need to be saved just like Gentiles…there is no difference. The Apostle Paul’s heart desired that they would be saved!
America—stand behind Israel, God’s people. Don’t mess w/ Israel! And Jesus gave all to purchase the whole field, inc. you and me, and now we are part of God’s chosen treasure, adopted into the Kingdom!
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