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44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, · PDF file 2018-10-06 · 15 Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44) 44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure

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  • Bible Study – The parables of Jesus part 3 Page 1

    15 Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)

    44 “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)

    Talking points

    1 Who is the audience for this parable? (Matt 13:10)

    2 Why might people hide treasure or something valuable in a field?

    3 What are our points of reference?

    4 Why does the man find and then hide the treasure again?

    5 Who is the one paying the price?

    Interpretation notes

    Palestine is probably one of the most fought over countries in world history. When war or

    conflict came it was common practice for people to carefully wrap their valuables in cloth

    and then bury them in the ground. This might for example have been a jar of coins,

    jewellery or a family heirloom. Their hope was that the day would come when they could

    return and retrieve them.

    Also in ancient Palestine there were no banks as we know them. They did have “bankers”

    (Matt 25:27). These men are probably better described as money changers or lenders.

    Therefore people often kept their money buried for safety on their property.

    In both situations described above there must have been occasions when the person died,

    was killed or was unable to return and retrieve their treasure.

    It is important to note that the man in the parable is not the original owner of the treasure or

    of the land. This is very important. Under rabbinic law if a workman came on a treasure in a

    field and lifted it out, it would belong to his master, the field’s owner; but here the man is

    careful not to lift the treasure out till he has bought the field.

  • Bible Study – The parables of Jesus part 3 Page 2

    Interpretation

    Clearly Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven which He is ushering in. There are

    two ways this parable has been interpreted. The first is as follows.

    1 The field represents the world and the man represents Jesus. We (the world) are the

    treasure that Jesus is willing to pay for with His life. Some define the treasure as Israel and

    the field as the world. This interpretation is probably unlikely because it is surrounded by

    parables that speak to the disciples and the price that they must pay.

    Jesus expressed truth about the kingdom in three pairs of parables in Matthew 13.

    1 The seed and the sower (13:3-23) and the weeds in the field (13:24-30)

    2 The mustard seed (13:31-32) and the leaven (13:33)

    3 The treasure in the field (13:44) and the pearl of great price (13:45-46)

    The two parables are paired together by our Lord because they teach a similar lesson.

    Therefore to understand and correctly interpret the parable of the hidden treasure we must

    look at it in context. Let us then consider the other, in my opinion more likely interpretation

    2 The treasure here is hidden, literally buried This suggests that spiritual truth is missed by

    many. As we know from the NT many people missed the significance of Jesus life and

    ministry.

    We also know this to be true from life experience. Despite our best efforts many cannot hear

    or understand the truth about Jesus. Such people cannot discern the great value of what is

    being offered to them.

    Some though through the power of the Holy Spirit do have their eyes opened. They can

    understand the value of what is being offered. The man here then represents firstly the

    disciples and secondly any other person who discovers the truth about Jesus.

    The treasure represents Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers. The disciples recognised

    Jesus as bringing the revolution of God. Once we have “found” Jesus we are willing to give

    up everything we own to possess what He offers. Note here that this is not suggesting we

    can “buy” our salvation. Salvation is a free gift given by the grace by God.

    Being willing to give up everything for the Kingdom is highly significant in this parable.

    The man was willing as we should be to sacrifice all we have for the sake of the Kingdom.

    However Jesus very cleverly pairs the giving up of something with the obtaining of a

    treasure. Certainly there is a cost to our faith and membership in the kingdom, but this

    should not be seen in a negative way. Instead the cost must be measured against the

    immensely valuable treasure we will obtain.

    There are many similarities between this parable and the next the parable of the valuable

    pearl.

  • Bible Study – The parables of Jesus part 3 Page 3

    16 Valuable Pearl (Matthew 13:45-46)

    45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who,

    when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he

    had and bought it.

    (Matthew 13:45-46)

    Talking points

    1 How does this parable differ to the previous parable? (hint compare the man and the

    merchant and their actions)

    2 What are our points of reference?

    3 Do you think the fact that is it is a pearl is significant? (Read Rev 21:21)

    Interpretation notes

    The word pearl (in Greek margarites) appears 9 times in the NT.

    Pearls were then as they are now highly valued. They were

    considered to be the loveliest possession a person could own.

    “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they

    trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matt 7:6)

    They were used in necklaces and for other decorations. Divers fished for them in the Red

    Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

    How are pearls formed?

    Natural Pearls form when an irritant usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand

    works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defence mechanism, a fluid is used to

    coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called 'nacre', is deposited until a lustrous

    pearl is formed.

  • Bible Study – The parables of Jesus part 3 Page 4

    The Egyptian princess Cleopatra was said to have a pearl valued at 25,000,000 denari. A

    denari remember was the equivalent of a days wage.

    Interpretation

    The first thing we note is the differing actions of the two men. In the previous parable the

    man found the treasure by accident. He was not actively looking for it. In the second the

    merchant is actively seeking out the pearl.

    We might interpret this to refer to those Jews in Jesus day who were actively seeking the

    messiah compared with those who were not. In both cases we note that upon finding the

    kingdom they did all that they could to enter it.

    This however is probably not significant we should instead focus on the elements common

    to both parables.

    Both men discover (in different ways) something of immense value. Their actions following

    this discovery mirror each other. In both cases they are willing to give up everything in

    order to obtain this valuable thing.

    The important message then to take from this parable is the great value of the kingdom of

    God. It has a value beyond anything we might possess. Just like a pearl it should be the

    loveliest thing in our possession. Therefore when we find it we should joyfully give up all

    we possess in order to become part of the kingdom.

    Note also that when the merchant had sold all he had to buy the pearl he was content. He

    gave up seeking other pearls. Christ fulfils all our needs. When we have found Him we can

    give up our wandering and place our hope for the future in Him.

    Application

    1 What does this parable teach us about our evangelistic efforts?

    2 What did you have to give up in order to follow Christ?

    3 Are there things that you should give up but are unwilling to do so?

    4 How do you think we sometimes go wrong when presenting the Christian life to others?

    5 Explain to the group how the joy of knowing Christ was worth paying everything for.

    17 Fishing Net (Matthew 13:47-50).

    47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and

    gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they

    sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be

    at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the

    just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of

  • Bible Study – The parables of Jesus part 3 Page 5

    teeth.”

    (Matthew 13:47-50)

    Talking points

    1 What are our reference points?

    2 What is a dragnet?

    3 What does the sea represent?

    4 What do the fish represent? Why are some good and some bad?

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