The Value of the Gospel of the Kingdom
Matthew 13:44 “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."
For us, buried treasure is the stuff of adventure stories, bandoleers and pirates on the high seas. But through much of world history since the invention of coined money by the famed Lydian King Croesus people used the ground as a repository for their treasures.
Jesus asks us to consider the analogy of a person who is out laboring in a field. He suddenly discovers under the blade of his plough a treasure that was buried by some wealthy person in years gone by. The man quickly covers up his discovery and runs into town to make inquiries about purchasing the field. Once he owns the field the treasure becomes his!
It’s an embarrassment to professional archeologists that some of the most important finds were discovered in just this way.
The great port city of Ugarit, sometimes called Ras Shamra, whose discovery shed considerable light on the Patriarchal narratives, was discovered in just this way. The city was destroyed in the twelfth century BC, and the location eventually forgotten when erosion and shifting sands buried it under. In 1928, a peasant plowing his field struck a stone. He subsequently discovered the stone was part of a tomb opening up to an underground necropolis.
Discovering a tomb in a field was often the very best discovery imaginable since people were often buried with their possessions.
It’s just such an image that Jesus is putting into our minds. He’s not concerned with all the legal problems that would be engendered by a modern discovery of ancient treasure.
The point is that discovering the kingdom of heaven is like locating a vast treasure that’s more valuable than anything you have.
Notice how Jesus does not qualify how much the person who makes the discovery already owns. Rich or poor, he’s willing to sell everything he owns because the kingdom of heaven is of inestimable value.
Whether you’re rich or poor today, do you find the glorious gospel of Jesus kingdom of greater value than anything else in this world? Do you find the message of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection simply more valuable than all the wealth of the world