Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Kingdom Is Like A Treasure

Matthew 13:44-46 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it.

What are these verses teaching us about the kingdom of heaven? The traditional teaching is that Jesus is telling us that the kingdom of heaven is so precious and valuable that when one finds it nothing else matters, and that person will sell all they possess in order to gain the one thing that is most valuable. But can we buy our salvation? Or do we seek Christ? The Bible is clear that we cannot purchase our salvation, and that it is Christ who is seeking after us, so what are these verses teaching us then?

Warren Wiersbe tells us that the treasure could represent the nation of Israel and the field could represent the world. He says, "[Israel] was placed in the world to bring glory to God, but it failed. It became a nation hidden, a treasure not being invested to produce dividends for God. Jesus Christ gave His all to purchase the whole world in order to save the nation."

Dr Wiersbe goes on to say that the pearl then could represent the church. Just as a pearl grows in secret, so it is with the church. The Holy Spirit convicts each of us individually, and we all come to Christ alone. In a very real sense the church grows and matures in secret as the Holy Spirit moves and works in the lives of the individuals who make it up. Another way that the church is like a pearl is that a pearl is an organism of unity. He adds, "Unlike most other gems, the pearl is a unity—it cannot be carved like a diamond or emerald...A pearl grows gradually, and the church grows gradually as the Spirit convicts and converts sinners. No one can see the making of the pearl, for it is hidden in the shell of the oyster under the waters. No one can see the growth of His church in the world." So here again he is giving us an alternate interpretation for this parable.

I am not saying that the traditional teaching of these parables is wrong. I am not saying that we should not give up everything for the kingdom of heaven. I am not even saying that the interpretation of Dr. Wiersbe is correct. All I am saying is that maybe we need to spend a little more time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to teach us the meaning of His word and not always rely on the traditional interpretations of men just because that is what has always been taught.
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