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Matthew 13:44-53 – Parables of the Treasure, the Pearls, and the Net—Treasures New and Old

Summary

Belonging to the kingdom is like finding hidden treasure or that one fine pearl. Like a net of fish, at the end of time the righteous and evil will be separated. As ones who have been "discipled" for the kingdom (the word translated "trained" is the same word as the "make disciples" in Jesus' Great Commission of 28:19). Jesus' followers understand his message as a treasure that binds together the old and new of God's promises.

Analysis

Jesus' parable discourse now concludes with three parables unique to Matthew and exhibiting characteristic Matthean themes. The description of the kingdom as like finding treasure or a fine pearl underscores the surprising grace of the kingdom, while the parable of the net, with its separation of the good and the bad, emphasizes the seriousness of disciple response in the face of the coming judgment at the end of time. Matthew's disciples confidently assert that they have understood the message of Jesus' parable teaching. As if to confirm their judgment, Jesus does not contradict their yes, but now encourages them to use this understanding in the conduct of life in the meantime, as they "bring out of that treasure" the rich resources of the old and the new.

Matthew 13:44-53

Three Parables

44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Treasures New and Old

51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ 53When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.

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