Kingdom of Heaven - Matthew 13
Continuing to look at Matthew 13, in verses 44-46, Jesus says “the Kingdom of heaven is like this” – and goes onto tell us two stories of men who give up everything to have this treasure.
Matthew 13: 44-46
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joywent and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."
In the first parable, the man accidentally comes across the treasure in a field – it was hidden, but he stumbled across it. Let’s notice the JOY he has in selling everything he has for this the field that contains the treasure. He sees the worth and value, gives up everything else to have what He’s found. He gives up everything, and has JOY in that. Let’s be joy carriers.
In the second parable, the Merchant is searching … he is searching far and wide for the pearl of great price. He is looking, being intentional and purposeful in his search. Then he finds this pearl that is like no other.
His profession is a merchant – he is probably an important man. Intelligent, wealthy, and a businessman who was strategic about what he was doing.
In these stories, both men find something – both find it in different ways – one who bumps into it by accident and the other who is searching purposefully. The way they actually find the treasure is not important – but the fact that they find it is and GO ALL OUT TO OBTAIN IT is the important thing.
Let’s look at another story in the Bible where we see this kind of abandonment and extravagance and operating in Kingdom thinking.
John 12:3-11 The Message (MSG)
12 1-3 Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
4-6 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
7-8 Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
We see that Martha is serving, Lazarus is reclining (which is a bit fair enough seeing as he’d been dead J),
and Mary ‘took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair”
Let’s note that “Expensive” here is the same word used for the one great pearl in Matthew 13. “Polutimos” which means exceedingly precious.
Let’s picture the scene: Mary, so overcome with love for Jesus and all that He had done, went and took ALL she had (apparently the worth of this was 300 denarii - like a year’s wages for a full time worker) … so in today’s cost, maybe $40,000-$50,000 which is possibly a conservative estimate, and poured it all over Jesus’ feet.
I asked the question of you all - What would be our thoughts if we saw someone do this today? If we saw someone give their whole years’ wages as an act of worship to Jesus. Would we judge as Judas judged? When I preached this message, some of you felt the same as Judas - “what a waste”, “that’s crazy”, “you could’ve done so much with that money”.
But what if Jesus asks you to do something as radical as this? What if He asks me to do that?
Would we hesitate? Would we second guess and overthink it? Would we be scared of being judged by others?
Mary, in doing what she did, was demonstrating WHO was supremely precious to her, not what. She honoured Jesus and He recognised what it was costing her…. Not just financially but also doing something “other” than what people understood to be OK / acceptable.
Look the way Jesus originally called his disciples: He said “follow me” –
they lay down their nets,
they left and followed Him into the great unknown.
I want you to take a minute to think about what it is costing you to follow Jesus.
What has He called you to give up?
What has he called you to pick up?
What has he asked you to leave behind?
What has He asked you to invest in?
What is He asking you to do now?
Our meeting venue: As many of you know, we have been talking about finding a new venue to have our Gatherings in as this hall is getting too small for us and we want to make room for more. It’s uncomfortable having to move – we know this space – we love this little space. But it’s like a shoe telling a foot how big it can grow!! We are limited.
Dave and I have spent a few months looking at places, emailing venues, talking to other people about possibilities, and many doors have shut for us. But there is one that a door has opened. At Westport Club. We want to have a trial there in a few weeks’ time on Sunday 24th March.
It does mean that we will be right in the middle of our community – an opportunity to be like the yeast and to permeate and influence and to bring light. But it is also a faith step in terms of finance. Meeting in the hall at Lighthouse is costing us about $80 a week, and to meet at Westport will cost us $250 a week.
Now on one hand, it’s just money and God is so faithful. But He chooses to partner with us and asks us what we are willing to do for His Kingdom. So, what are we willing to do? What are we wiling to give up for the sake of the treasure that we have found and want other people to discover? Do we actually want other people to discover Jesus? What are willing for it to cost us? Financially, logistically, emotionally.
Back to these parables in Matthew 13: I personally am super challenged by these parables that Jesus told and by Mary’s story. Challenged about living my life fully surrendered to Jesus in EVERY way.
Not just on Sundays, but EVERY DAY in EVERY WAY. In the way I speak, the way I treat others, the way I think, the way I spend my money, the way I work, the way I spend my time, the way I think about my future and security, the way I look at what Jesus is doing around the place.
Jesus is the treasure. When we have found Jesus (even though He is actually inviting us long before we find Him), we become part of God’s Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus is our King …. And recognising that we are part of the Kingdom means that our life becomes one that influences and permeates this world for Him. Therefore it looks like something.
Jesus is telling us in these parables that it costs something to see the Kingdom of Heaven revealed.
The Merchant selling everything … giving up all his wealth and business … to go after the pearl. It cost him.
The man who finds the treasure in the field – he sells everything he has with JOY and buys the field so he has the treasure. It cost him.
Mary worshipped Jesus by pouring all she had over his feet to show her love for him. It cost her.
This message is a call straight from Jesus’ mouth to remind us that in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven and heaven’s realities released, it will cost us to follow Jesus in all aspects of our lives.
I pray that we will be like Mary, who gave extravagently out of a heart of worship for her King
I pray that we will be like the merchant, who gave up his livelihood for the sake of the greatest pearl
I pray that we will be like the man with the treasure in the field, who sold everything he had with JOY to pursue the treasure.