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January 28 I Friday

Exodus 19-20

Matthew 18:21-35

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”   

—Matthew 13:44

 

After four parables on how the world will see the kingdom of heaven, we now turn to the good news of the kingdom of heaven. After speaking to the crowds, Jesus entered a house with His disciples and conveyed these next four parables to them in private. They represent the kingdom of heaven from God’s perspective.

      A common interpretation of the Parable of the Hidden Treasure sees the hidden treasure as being Christ or salvation, and the person who sells everything to obtain the treasure as the penitent sinner who comes to Christ. In light of the whole picture being given by Jesus in the eight parables, this would be a wrong assumption. If we interpret this according to the symbols already used, the man who sells everything to purchase the field is the Son of Man who finds treasure in the world and gives up everything He has in order to purchase it. Rather than being a picture of how the sinner obtains Christ, it is a picture of how Christ obtains the sinner. It is Christ Himself finding treasure in the world, and giving up everything in order to purchase it for His own.

      What can be described as God’s treasure in the world? On what has He set His heart to the extent He gives up everything to purchase it? The answer is that God’s treasure is people. The Psalmist asks, “...what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). Job asks, “What is mankind that You make so much of them, that You give them so much attention?” (Job 7:17).

      If the treasure is human beings, the parable states, “When a man found it…”, which implies he was looking. Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). It is a wonderful thing to be described as lost, because it means we are wanted and every human being is of immeasurable value to Christ. To obtain the treasure, He gave all He had to make our salvation possible. Jesus not only died for us, but with His blood, He purchased us outright. To be a Christian is to acknowledge we are not our own. Our salvation may be free, but it is not cheap. It came at a great cost to our Lord Jesus.

      The man in the parable did not begrudge the purchase. On the contrary, “…in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” This fits a description of Christ: “For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). It was in joy Christ made the transaction and purchased us for Himself.

Prayer: My Lord Jesus, as sinful as I am, thank You for looking upon me as Your treasure, for purchasing me with Your blood and making me Yours. I am utterly speechless. Thank You, Lord.

 


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