Hidden Treasure

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True Bible Teaching - About You and God and Your Hope of Salvation

Hidden Treasure

Hidden TreasureHidden Treasure

The possibility of finding buried treasure appeals to most of us, if only we knew where to look!

It might require sailing the seven seas in search of a desert island or following some ancient map where X marks the spot and digging to reveal a hidden chest full of coins and jewels. It could be that we inherit a fortune from a long lost relative or buy a vase or a painting from a charity shop, or find something thrown away in a skip that turns out to be worth a huge sum of money.

Unlikely Places

Huddersfield may seem an unlikely place to find treasure, but in 1897 a man discovered 81 coins dating from 1440 to 1550 at Netherton and they now reside in the Tolson museum and are on their list of 10 top treasures.

More recently, in 2011 a metal-detecting club discovered jewellery in a field at Emley, which an inquest has declared to be treasure.

The word ‘treasure’ means things we value and need not mean things of monetary value at all, for there are plenty of things that are far more important and of much more value than financial gain. We treasure friendship and the love of our children and families. We have treasured memories, which are of no financial value. A cure from a serious illness would always be preferred to any amount of money, or gold or precious jewels.

The Bible is like a treasure chest for it contains pearls of wisdom and precious things that money cannot buy.

Jesus told parables that explain some of these treasures.

Discovering Treasure

Parables are stories with a moral lesson or teaching and one of the parables JesusDiscovering Treasure told was about a man who found treasure hidden in a field.

He was so overjoyed with his find that he sold everything he had to buy the field so that he could own the treasure.

What did this parable mean? It was the fifth of seven parables that Jesus told in Matthew chapter 13 and they caused his disciples some confusion.

They came to Jesus privately and asked him why he was telling these stories instead of just communicating a direct message and this is what he said:

The Hidden Treasure of God's Kingdom on EarthBecause it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given (Matthew 13:11).

Jesus explained the meaning of some parables to his disciples, but he explained that the meaning would be hidden to others unless they searched it out diligently and found it – like the man who found the hidden treasure in the field.

Kingdom of God

From the outset of his ministry the whole teaching of Jesus centred on the kingdom of God, as can be clearly seen in Mark’s account of the gospel:

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15).

Thus in Matthew chapter 13, six out of the seven parables shown there begin with the words “the kingdom of heaven is like” and the seed that is sown in the parable of the Sower is “the word of the kingdom.”

Clearly then, all these parables are about aspects of ‘the kingdom of God’ or ‘the kingdom of heaven’ as Matthew terms it, these being interchangeable terms (compare Matt 4:17 with Mark 1:14-15; Matt 5:3 with Luke 6:20; and Matt 13:31 with Mark 4:30-31).

Hidden Treasure

Here’s the parable about the man who stumbled across hidden treasure:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Matthew 13:44).

Notice that the treasure was hidden.

It was not lost or mislaid; it had been deliberately hidden. This matches perfectly with the explanation Jesus had given for speaking in parables (Matthew 13:11). In this instance (unlike the next parable Jesus told) the man appears to have stumbled across the treasure, perhaps when he was working in the field. When he found the treasure he immediately recognized and appreciated its great value and realised that to possess the treasure he needed to own the field.

It is a mark of how valuable this treasure was to him that he went and sold everything he had in order to buy the field and possess the treasure. It was clearly the most important thing in the world to this man, so he gave up all to obtain it.

Seeking Treasure

The next parable is similar except the treasure is a pearl of great value and the finder is a man who made it his business to find precious things:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (Matthew 13:45–46).

This man was a merchant seeking precious pearls and upon finding this “pearl of great price”, like the other man he sold all that he had to buy it.

When he found it, he knew its true value and, just as the disciples had done (Mark 10:28), he gave up all that he had to make that pearl his own. But what was so valuable about the hidden treasure or the discovered pearl that caused the finders to abandon all else to possess their finds?

Key Parable

The first parable Jesus told on that occasion is identified as a key to all the subsequent ones (Mark 4:13) as Jesus gave his disciples a step-by-step guide to its interpretation.

In the parable a farmer sows his seed which lands on different types of ground (some good and some bad) and the crop it yields varies accordingly. This is the explanation Jesus gives:

The Parable of the Sower❖The Sower is Jesus

❖The Seed is the word of the kingdom − (what Jesus taught)

❖The different Soil types are the hearts and minds of those who hear his message and the fruit is how the recipients respond to that word.

❖The Treasure then is the word of the kingdom – the gospel: the good news of the kingdom of God.

What makes this news so valuable and such a precious treasure is that the gospel of the Kingdom of God is the answer to all mankind’s problems.

Jesus will return to earth with all of God’s power which has been given him to enable him to rule the world and put everything right. The world will then be changed to a world of peace and righteousness and those who are judged worthy will be given everlasting life.

No wonder there have been people in all ages, including the present, who were and are willing to give up everything that they might possess this great truth and have hold of this great treasure. The treasure we see in the Bible − the Word of God – has a value which is so great it is incomparable.

There is nothing more valuable than having an understanding of this message hidden in the Bible.

It gives the opportunity to become a follower of Jesus and to have the promise of being part of God’s future plan for Jesus and for the world; it is a treasure beyond value.

Food For Thought

What this world has to offer us here and now may seem to be so secure and may make us feel secure. But the things we enjoy now can be lost or taken away in a moment. These are things that Jesus described as “the deceitfulness of riches” (Matt 13:22) and this is the advice he gives to all who would follow him:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for  ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19–21).

If all our hopes and desires are in the Lord Jesus and the Kingdom of God then those hopes are stored (safe and absolutely secure) with Jesus. He is now in heaven waiting for the time when God will send him back to earth to set up God’s Kingdom and to reward his faithful followers with the gift of everlasting life.

By Kevin Waterhouse

Glad Tidings Magazine of the Kingdom of God