Matthew 13

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 joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

So, who is the man? What are the treasure and fine pearls?

Most commentaries see the treasure/fine pearls as Jesus Christ that he is worthy for us to forgo everything we have to follow him. But I’ve always wondered how do these two parables fit with the other parables in Matthew 13. 

But the other night, my mom suddenly asked me to read the whole Matthew 13 and asked me, “Who is the man who found the treasure/pearls?" and “What is the treasure/pearls?"

Then we went into a lengthy discussion… “We" include my mom, me, and Iris, my best friend. And after two nights of discussion, establishing interpretation and then modify it and then find questions, and then modify it again… and we finally come to this interpretation:

Let’s go through Matthew 13!

People gathered together around Jesus and wanted to hear from Jesus. So, Jesus spoke to them:

The parable of the sower      Jesus/God sowed the seeds on man’s heart but not all understand and respond to the Gospel and even for those who respond, not all may bear fruit. 

And then the parables of the kingdom of heaven starts here:

  1. The parable of the weeds     Jesus came to the world and brought the message of Kingdom to the world and thus people of Kingdom came up (wheat grown in the field). But Satan (the enemy) also came and spread false teachings and thus people of the evil one came up (weeds grown in the field). The people of the evil one (the weeds) are not pulled up until the end of the age (harvest) when angels (harvesters) come and pull weeds up and burn them in the fire. 
  2. The parable of the mustard seed     Jesus planted the church (mustard seeds) on earth (in his field). The church is the tree and so believers (the birds of the air) come and and rest in it.
  3. The parable of the yeast     God “hid" the church (yeast) on earth (a large amount of flour) until the whole earth (the whole flour) is leavened.
  4. The parable of the hidden treasure     The kingdom of heaven is the church (treasure), God found it and hid it in the field. Then God sold all he had and bought us back. 
  5. The parable of the pearl     Jesus (the merchant) looks for fine pearls and when he found us (one of great value), he “sold" everything he had and bought us.
  6. The parable of the net     The kingdom of heaven is the church (a net) what was let down into the earth (the lake) and caught everyone on earth (all kinds of fish)…Then at the end of the age, angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace…
Then Jesus asked the disciples whether they have understood all that he said and the disciples said yes. So the disciples are “teachers of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven", and thus they should “bring(s) out of their (his) storeroom new treasures as well as old" – understand the old teachings of Messiah with a new interpretation: Messiah is to be sacrificed. The old laws are not to be abolished but Jesus’ new teachings on the message of the kingdom of heaven is also to be learned and understood.  
Because of this, Jesus was not honored by his own people as they could not accept the new interpretation of Messiah – a servant, someone to be sacrificed rather than an earthly king. 

This explanation may then get the whole chapter together. The parable of the sower is kind of like an introduction, an opening to what the kingdom of heaven is like. The Gospel is for everyone just as the sower sowed seed into the field but only some listened and understood the Gospel; some others listened and thought they understood but did not bear fruit; some listened but do not understand; some simply do not listen. So, who are the ones that may enter the kingdom of heaven? (to be continued in Treasure and Pearl 2)