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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE HIDDEN TREASURE

Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which, when a man found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

The kingdom of heaven holds the greatest of value one can ever find. This short parable, as well as the parable immediately following, were used by Jesus to teach this lesson to His apostles and other disciples that were in His audience. And through the gospel of Matthew, this parable was made available to all people including you and me today. The "kingdom of heaven" parables could be applied to a number of individual things included in the kingdom. It could apply to Jesus Christ, our Savior that, today, reigns as ruler of His kingdomfrom His throne in heaven. Likewise, the parables could apply to the church Jesus died to establish, the body of Christ here on earth. It could also apply to the plan of salvation available to obedient Christians, or to the bible that has been preserved through the ages which contains the will of God and His plan of salvation for mankind. All of these are elementsof, and make up, the kingdom of heaven. It matters not whether application of these parables are made to each element or to the kingdom as a whole. This is for certain: the kingdom of Christ Jesus, His body, His church,is worth more than any thing else in the world. This is the lesson found in this parable.

The parable of the mustard seed told us of the small beginning of the kingdom, its rapid growth, and the greatness of its maturity. The parable of the leaven taught us about the contagious growth that occurs when one is exposed to God's word, His church, the body of Christ, and the faithful saints who obey andproclaim His gospel message. The parable of the hidden treasure, as well as the parable of the pearl of great price, teaches us how valuable the kingdom of heaven is to each person that seeks and finds it. As you can see from these examples, each parable has a different lesson for us regarding Christ's kingdom of heaven. These, and many other parables, were used by Jesus to teach the spiritual importance of His kingdom.

Consider the parable of the hidden treasure. It likens the kingdom of heaven to a treasure hid in a field. In this analogy, the treasure would probably be our Savior, Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation he died to establish. The field, then, would be the word of God, the gospel message where salvation through Jesus can be found.

Some people have trouble with this parable when they read that the treasure is hidden in God's word, as if God were trying to keep salvation in Jesus from being found. However, think of God's word in this manner. The field of the parable was for sale. It was not enclosed but was unrestricted and open for all to travel through and examine. In doing so, all travelers are free to seek, search and observe its contents. So is God's word. What are we seeking when we look into the "field" of God's word? Are we primarily searching for the things that sustain physical life here on earth? If so, we do not see the real value that can be found in the word of God. As we look into God's word, we should be guided by the words of His Son, Jesus Christ: ...but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

Some bible critics also find fault with the ethics they read into this parable, saying that the person had a responsibility to inform the owner of the property about the treasure it contained. This we know, the Son of God would never teach mankind to commit sinful acts. Sin separates one from God. The mission of our Savior is to reconcile and unite us with God through salvation that is found in His holy word, and it is available to all obedient Christians that make up His church. The "field", the word of God, is for sale. It is available for all to look over, read andexamine, and it is available for all topurchase.

Most people are searching for fame and fortune to satisfy earthly desires. As they examine the "field", they see only a parcel of ground suitable for growing crops. To them, the asking price is too high. Only those that diligently examine the "field" will find its real value, which is eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. Recognizing the great spiritual value of this "field", they that find it are willing to sell all earthly possessions in order to purchase it. Are you seeking first the kingdom of God? When found, how much is eternal salvation in heaven worth to you? Are you willing to pay the price?