The greatest of treasures

The Bible readings for today, Saturday 5 December, are: Psalm 9.1-20; Isaiah 29.15–24; Matthew 13.44–58.

In reflecting on these readings, I was struck most by the Parables of the Pearl of Great Price and the Treasure Hidden in the Field. In Jesus’ parable discourse (Matthew 13) and throughout Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is made to refer to the ‘Kingdom of heaven’. He is not referring to heaven as a place you might go to when you die. In Matthew, ‘the kingdom of heaven’ is equivalent to the ‘kingdom of God’ and it refers to the kingly rule of God made known in Jesus. This kingdom of heaven / God is ‘like a treasure hidden in a field’.

Donald Hagner explains:

The kingdom of God is the greatest of treasures. Though its worth is immeasurable by any standard . . . , it is now present only in veiled form and can be possessed by some without the knowledge of those near them. Like a hidden treasure or a pearl that can be held in one’s hand, the kingdom is known only to its joyful possessors. Yet those who find the kingdom, i.e., who receive the message and who respond in discipleship, have begun to experience the wonder of the kingdom’s presence. They know that the kingdom is a reality that is worth everything. And thus they joyfully make it their one priority in life (cf. 4.18–22; 10.39). They seek first the kingdom, sacrificing all to it, but at the same time paradoxically finding with the kingdom all they need (6.33). Hagner, D. Matthew 1–13, Word Biblical Commentary, (Word, 1993) p. 397.

Sometimes, those of us who have been following Jesus for many years can lose sight of the value of God’s kingdom. I wonder whether we still consider it to be the greatest of treasures?

‘Loving God, please restore to me the sense of wonder at your kingdom, that I might be pleased to offer my all in its service, Amen.’

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