March 24th, 2020 - Rev Rob
Lesson # 3 "The two parables of Jesus" in Matthew 13: 44-46 are similar and yet they are different. First, one needs to see that for Jesus the Kingdom of Heaven is one of unsurpased value. In these two parables, the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price remind me of Indiana Jones searching for the Lost Ark (the golden chest of the Ten Commandments and the Holy Throne of God) and the Holy Grail (the chalice that Jesus used at the Last Supper). Their value and power are eternal and beyond all imagination. Indiana and the Nazis will do anything to possess them.
In our present day, one can liken the hidden treasure and the pearl to the most valuable diamonds in all history. Think about the Hope Diamond of 45.52 carats or the Cullinan Diamond of 530.2 carats -- the Great Star of Africa. The value of the Kingdom of Heaven is beyond any of these diamonds.
Still, the parables are not only focused on the treasures themselves. In the parable of the treasure in the field, there is the response and behavior of a disciple -- One is surprised and elated. In this way, the Kingdom of Heaven is astonishing and comes upon us in most unexpected ways. The Kingdom of Heaven is of divine origin and gives us supreme joy and happiness.
Furthermore, the Kingdom of Heaven involves a person's resourceful passion and zeal. That is the kind of attitude and energy, the kind of faith that is embodied by people in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Besides the value of the pearl is the quest, the searching, the longing pursuit to do anything to have that one pearl. It is like the adventures where Indiana Jones will do anything to find the treasure. There is the challenge, the excitement, the lure and the journey.
What does that mean for us? Yes, in these parables the value of the treasure and the pearl have great monetary price. That is true. But they also describe the character of the pilgrim, the disciple, the people who follow Jesus. As Christians we will go the second mile to be a part of God's family, God's Kingdom. Even with this crazy, crazy coronavirus, we are called to follow Jesus to the cross and victory. We will not give up. Amen, Hallelujah Amen.
1. And what MORE do these parable say to you? Let me know.
2. And which of the other parables do you like? Why?
3. What questions do you have about these parables?
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Rev. Dr. Shannon Smythe
United Presbyterian Church