Lesson 159-June 17, 2018
Introduction: In today’s lesson we will study two parables taught by Jesus. We shall give our attention and study to “The Parable of the Hidden Treasure” and “The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price.” Both of these parables contain and communicate a similar truth.
As we begin today’s lesson please hear from the Apostle Paul Please read Philippians 3:8. In your own words please explain this verse:
Keeping the Apostle’s words in mind will help us in our study and understanding of the two parables of to- day’s text. In Matthew 13:36 we are told that “Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house.” At that point His disciples seek an explanation of “The Parable of the Tares of the field.”. Jesus answered the dis- ciples by offering the explanation; following the explanation He continues to teach them in parables but unlike the previous parables which were taught in the presence of the multitudes, now Jesus speaks to His disciples.
As we begin our quest for understanding of “The Parable of the Hidden Treasure” let us remember that Jesus was using a simple, familiar story to His listeners. In our day and time such things as treasures hidden in fields is remote from our thinking but it was not so remote during Jesus’ day and for His disciples. The practice of hiding valuables or treasures in the ground was common in the day and culture of Jesus’ listeners. Because there were no banks offering safe depositories, people would often hide their valuables by placing them under- ground. These valuables or treasures would be buried (please read Matthew 25:25). We also must remember that the lands familiar to Jesus’ listeners were lands that served as battlefields for hundreds of years. Often during war times families would bury their valuables, as well as, items for survival, such as food and clothing to protect them from looting by enemy armies. Concerning this the famous Jewish historian Josephus wrote, “the gold and silver and the rest of that precious furniture which the Jews had and which the owners treasured underground was done to withstand the fortunes of war.” MacArthur
Another important fact to help in our understanding is that because of the many wars of the region over hun- dreds of years, some of the lands of Palestine were places of buried treasures because when the landowner was captured or, driven away or killed the buried treasure would be lost until someone looking found it or someone accidentally stumbled upon it.
At our home place in Town Creek we have a field that through the years we have called “The Arrowhead Field.” It is so named because during soil preparation when the field is being plowed and disked arrowheads can be found. The process of soil preparation unearths these historical treasures. To this very day I still look forward to soil preparation and first rains to fall following the planting. The rain washes the dirt away from the arrowheads that are on top of the soil making them visible to the hunter. I have spent may hours searching, looking for and finding these wonderful treasures (treasures by my definition).
FACT: To those in your Life Focus classes that are familiar with hunting for arrowheads my short story will be understandable, to those that are not familiar with such pursuits understanding it is more difficult!
Questions: What is the point of the previous statement as it pertains to Jesus’ method of teaching in parables? How does familiarity with the subject that is spoken of or written about help with one’s understanding?
In our study of the Scriptures, we should study, pray, research, investigate, and examine carefully the text. I invite and encourage each of you to truly examine the Scriptures for yourselves. The Word of God is a Treas- ure Chest of great riches that need to found and uncovered by every follower of Jesus Christ. We are so BLESSED to have the Word of God available and the vast numbers of Biblical resources and tools at our dis- posal for study.
Question: Why does your pastor often use the terminology “let’s go prospecting” in reference to the Word of God?
(V44) Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sales all that he has and buys the field.
We are not told if the man was deliberately searching for it or if he just happen to find it (stumble upon it). But regardless he understood the great value of it once it was discovered. Please read John 4:3-11.
(vv44-45) Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“The Parable of the Great Pearl” teaches a similar truth to “The Parable of the Treasure” but we are able to see that the man who found the pearl was actually looking or seeking to find it. When he found it no doubt it ex- ceeded all his expectations. Please read John 3:1-8 and Matthew 19:29.
As I close today’s lesson I offer you a personal testimony concerning the texts: Matthew 13:44 and 13:45-46. I think one thing we must be very careful of in our studies is that we do not over analyze and try to make every word fit into some predetermined, prescribed theological or historical notion. Many great scholars take this approach to the parabolic text to which I do not even pretend to be such a scholar. But we must be very care- ful when we determine to take a parable and analytically dissect it. For in our vast pursuit of explainable de- tails we miss the overall comprehensive meaning.
“Both for those who are searching and those who are surprised, the Kingdom of heaven is something worth losing everything for.” Platt
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he can not lose.” Jim Elliot