Thursday, December 3, 2009

Treasure in a Field

"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." Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

There are at least two ways to look at this parable: through the lens of the law, or through the lens of the gospel. No doubt, I have heard it explained more often through the lens of the law.

The Law: We are the man, and we have to at least be willing to sell everything to gain the great treasure, which is the kingdom of heaven hidden in a field. If you don't actually sell everything, you have to at least be willing to sell everything to gain the treasure.

The Gospel: The man is Jesus. He is the only person who has ever, throughout history, given up everything to redeem us. Jesus is the only one who buys the whole field, the world, in order to gain the treasure, which is us.

Anytime you hear "do", it is the law accusing us. In the first interpretation, the focus is on us. Do any of us give up everything to gain heaven? That interpretation accuses us of not selling everything.

Whenever you hear "Jesus did it", it is the gospel. We are passive in action; Jesus is the one doing. In the Gospel interpretation, Jesus joyfully buys the world in order to gain His treasure.

Know you are loved and hear the grace of the gospel!
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