Sunday, July 19, 2020

Proper 12 Series A

Proper 12 Series A

Proper 12
(26 July 2020)
Series A

Deuteronomy 7:6–9
Romans 8:28–39
Matthew 13:44–52

The Son of God Has Redeemed Us for Himself with His Holy and Precious Blood

The Lord our God has chosen us to be “his treasured possession,” not because of any strength in us, but solely “because the Lord loves” us (Deuteronomy 7:6–8). He is faithful, and He “keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9). He has searched for us and found us in love, and He has bestowed on us “great value” by the great price that He has paid on the cross. (Matthew 13:45–46). 

In His joy, He has redeemed us by His cross and gathered us into His Kingdom by the Gospel. Now we are “hidden in a field,” covered by the cross and subject to the persecution of the world (Matthew 13:44), not for destruction, but “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). 

Since we “are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), and because Christ Jesus died, rose again and lives to intercede for us “at the right hand of God” (Romans 8:34), there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39).

Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope and love that, receiving what You have promises, we may love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ our Lord

He Bought the Entire Field!
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

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. (Matthew 13:44)

When Jesus taught in parables, such a method of teaching was not totally foreign to the Jews of His day.  Jewish rabbis had certain stock “picture words” that they used in their teaching (e.g. harvest represented judgment; marriage indicated the beginning of the Messianic age; birds often showed the presence of gentiles or evil spirits; the field was the world.).  What was strange about Christ’s parables was their mysterious nature along with His use of new “picture words” which gave to His parables an apparent lack of clarity.  This fulfilled what Jesus earlier explained, that He spoke in parables so that “…seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (13:13)” Christ’s parables were intended to be wrestled with.  As it turns out, many sayings of Jesus gain clarity and focus when one sees them through the lens of His death and resurrection.

In the mini-parable quoted above, Jesus speaks of a treasure.  What is this treasure?  This treasure is “hidden in a field” and the man of the parable covers it up until he can buy the field.  Unfolded in the writings of the Apostles, the treasure can be understood to be the people whom God foreknew and predestined to be saved. But the remarkable nature of this treasure was that God hid it; the Jewish people didn’t perceive that God treasured not just the descendants of Israel but also people who would come from every nation.  Throughout the entire New Testament the Apostle Paul makes this truth abundantly clear—that Christ came also to save Gentiles predestined to eternal life.  A reference that has bearing on this hidden treasure is recorded in Ephesians 3:4-6:  “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known [It was hidden!] to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

Using a stock “picture word” of other rabbis, Jesus explains that the man in the parable did not merely buy the treasure, but he bought the entire field.  Recall that “field” often represented the world, thus this was recognized as the purchase of the world!  Indeed the man sold all that He had to make this unbelievable purchase.  If the man is God the Father, then the “man” gave His greatest treasure, His Son.  See John 3:16 in relation to this.  Or consider 2 Corinthians 5:19, “…that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ.” If the man is the Son of God, then we can recognize the treasure to be His very life-blood, shed to purchase the world.  Consider then verses like, “He died for all (2 Co 5:14),” or “He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 Jo 2:2).”

God bought the world!  It then makes perfect sense that not just Jews but Gentiles are “fellow heirs” of the world-wide salvation purchased by Christ’s death and resurrection; Gentiles are eligible to hear the Gospel, the good news that Christ’s blood has purchased the world.  With Christ’s death and resurrection at the center of the Christian faith, it makes sense that we can perceive meaning in this parable of Jesus by viewing it through the lens of His death and resurrection.

copyright (c) Indiana District LCMS

Matthew 13:44-54
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44 Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν θησαυρῷ κεκρυμμένῳ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, ὃν εὑρὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔκρυψεν, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτοῦ ὑπάγει καὶ πωλεῖ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει καὶ ἀγοράζει τὸν ἀγρὸν ἐκεῖνον.
“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.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

45 Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν  ἀνθρώπῳ ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας• 
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 

46 εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν.
who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Parable about the net
47 Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν σαγήνῃ βληθείσῃ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἐκ παντὸς γένους συναγαγούσῃ• 
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind.

48 ἣν ὅτε ἐπληρώθη ἀναβιβάσαντες ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν καὶ καθίσαντες συνέλεξαν τὰ καλὰ εἰς ἄγγη, τὰ δὲ σαπρὰ ἔξω ἔβαλον
When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 

49 οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος• ἐξελεύσονται οἱ ἄγγελοι καὶ ἀφοριοῦσιν τοὺς πονηροὺς ἐκ μέσου τῶν δικαίων 
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous

50 καὶ βαλοῦσιν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός• ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.
and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

New and Old Treasures
51 Συνήκατε ταῦτα πάντα; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ• Ναί
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”

52 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Διὰ τοῦτο πᾶς γραμματεὺς μαθητευθεὶς τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ὅστις ἐκβάλλει ἐκ τοῦ θησαυροῦ αὐτοῦ καινὰ καὶ παλαιά
 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Jesus rejected at Nazareth
53 καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς παραβολὰς ταύτας, μετῆρεν ἐκεῖθεν.
 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 

54 καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν, ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ λέγειν• Πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις;
 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?

 The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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