Keep reading, it will all make sense in a minute…
V44 – One of the elders at my church, Royce, was telling us of a time when he was discussing this parable with a group of people and they were talking about all the things they had to give up and how hard it was to give them up when one of the guys in the group said “Wait a minute. It says here the guy joyfully went and sold everything he had. He wanted to sacrifice all of his old stuff because he understood the value of the treasure he found.” Right after Royce told that story, I started thinking about how our time on earth is so short compared to what we have to look forward to for eternity, that all the “stuff” we have here on earth is kind of like a house made out of ice cream. It’s awesome for about 5 minutes and then it’s not so practical. In the big picture, when we prioritize earth “stuff” over our pursuit of the kingdom of heaven it’s like insisting on buying an ice cream house to live in instead of one that is built to last a little longer than 2 minutes.
◊ Do I joyfully, eagerly give up all the ways and “things” of my old life now that I have found new life in Christ, realizing the value of what I have found, or do I hang on to my “ice cream house” and pout that Jesus is asking me to give up too much?
V45 – In the last story the guy stumbled upon the treasure, in this one the man has been searching for the treasure. When he finds the pearl of great value, he knows there’s no point in keeping the other ones.
◊ Did I stumble upon the Gospel or was I searching for Truth? When I discovered the kingdom of heaven did I immediately recognize its value? Am I still looking for things to satisfy me or is the treasure of God’s love and His kingdom enough? (I’d love to hear some of your answers to these questions if you don’t mind sharing.)
V47-50 – I’m not sure if this parable applies to everyone – the whole world – or if He’s talking about sorting that will happen even within those who claim – or were drawn to – the kingdom of God. Either way, just like in the parable of the sower, it’s my job to get the good news out there and God’s job to sort.
- V48 – He’s using a word picture of something they would’ve seen (or several of them would’ve done) every day.
- V49 – He’s always pretty clear it will be the angels who do the sorting, not us (see also v39-42). Don’t take on the job of judging/sorting the good from the bad.
- V50 – He’s pretty consistent with His language in this chapter about the fiery furnace with weeping and gnashing of teeth.
◊ I really don’t want any of my friends, family, neighbors, even my enemies to have to experience that. What am I doing about it?
- V51 – I like that He checks in with them this time. It’s kind of like He ended His last set of stories with a blessing of “May the Holy Spirit help you understand” (v43) and then checked back in with them to make sure it was working.
- V52 – I’m glad my Bible had an explanation of this one – it went right over my head! It says, “They understand both the “new” revelation from Jesus and how it fulfills the “old” promises in the Old Testament.” The Message helpfully translates it “Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.”
- V54 – He went home to Nazareth and taught in the “church” He grew up in. My ESV Bible says He may have been responding to a request from His family to come home since they visited Him back in 12:46.
- V54-56 – They were overly familiar with Him since they’d watched Him grow up and knew His family well. Apparently there wasn’t much about His boyhood that suggested He would grow into an incredibly wise Bible teacher. (Although, at least His parents would have known from the fiasco in the temple that one year. Luke 2:46-49)
◊ Do I encourage and rejoice in the spiritual growth of others, even – especially – those I don’t think will amount to much?
◊ V57 – Am I encouraging and supporting everyone in my home church and especially in my family to radical faith and obedience in Christ, even if it feels like a burden or inconvenience to me?
- V58 – This is huge and really important to notice!! Matthew has mentioned before how people were healed because of their faith (8:13, 9:2, 9:22, 9:29), now he shows how people weren’t healed because of their lack of faith.
◊ Jesus help us to have faith in Your power, authority, and ability to make people whole: physically, mentally, and spiritually. Remind us to bring our brokenness and the brokenness of those around us to You.
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?