Grace Lutheran Church Weekly Devotion - Matthew 13:44-52
[Jesus said:] “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
In the first of the three parables Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven is hidden from plain sight like buried treasure. For years people have walked over it, planted grain on it, never even knowing there was a treasure buried under the soil. The kingdom of heaven is hidden to the eyes of the world. The world only sees a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth in Galilee who through misfortune was crucified. The glory of Jesus’ divinity is hidden under the humility of a manger and the cross. The glory of being a new creation in Christ is hidden under the flesh of the Old Adam. Jesus, the finder of the treasure, buys the whole farm; the rundown barn, house, shed, even the rusty broken-down tractor. Jesus did not come into the world and die just to redeem the redeemable. He buries His death and resurrection in the world as a hidden treasure of infinite value. The death and resurrection of God’s Son reconciles all things in this world and makes them precious to God.
In the second parable it is all too easy for us to get caught up by “the pearl” of such “great value” that you must give up everything to have it. This parable has been interpreted in many ways, so, rather than try to hash all of them out, I only remind you of a familiar verse: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son” (Jn. 3:16). The kingdom of heaven is like the seeking love of God. He searches high and low for that one pearl of “great value.” Finding it, He gives everything He has, His only-begotten Son, to make it His treasured possession. In His steadfast love for the world, He stops at nothing to rescue us from sin and death. For the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, you are precious in His sight. This is all about how God values you and me. You are worth the shed blood, the innocent suffering and death of His only Son to redeem you and make you His own so that you might live under Him in His kingdom.
In the third parable, the kingdom of heaven is like a big, wide net cast into the sea. It does not discriminate what is hauled in, good fish or bad fish. There is no one or anything that is outside the net of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He has the “whole world in His hands” when those hands are nailed to the cross. The Lord draws all of creation into one dark death on the cross and out of that death raises up a new creation. Only on the Last Day can good and evil be properly sorted. Since we are both sinner and saint, the line separating evil and righteousness runs right through each of us. Thank God that the net drags in everyone, because if it only gathered the good, we would be left out.
The hidden, all-embracing kingdom of heaven is yours in Christ. You are of immense value to God, a precious pearl. You may feel worthless and insignificant, the world may have no appreciation for your value, but you are to die for. God bought you; He saved you before you ever got the notion of being saved. He rescued you before you called for help. He redeemed you while you were still dead in your sin and trespasses. You have been caught in the kingdom’s net with the world’s prodigal sons and daughters. He will drag you to the shores of resurrection and by God’s grace in Jesus, you will rise as saints, His treasured possession, His priceless pearl to live in the kingdom that has no end.
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Cheyenne Wells, CO, 80810-0728
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