Have you ever watched one of those shows like Antique Roadshow or even Pawnstars? People are always hopeful that the old Samurai sword they found in the attic or the vase that Aunt Edna willed to them will be worth a fortune. Sometimes they are evaluated highly…mostly they’re not.
Finding something of value is the theme for the passage we’ll be looking at this Sunday as we continue our study of Matthew, reading chapter 13:44-58.
The parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price carry on the prior theme of something hidden and unexpected (like that of the wheat and weeds, the mustard seed and the leaven), but now a new dimension is added: value. Jesus is trying to get across the great value of God’s in-breaking kingdom in comparison to all other things/religions/philosophies/pursuits of life. In what way do you understand God’s rule over your life and this world to be of value? How do you understand it to be the most valuable thing, if you do? What do you think it means to prioritize and value God’s kingdom more than anything else?
The parable of the dragnet leaves the world of agriculture and sets us out to sea. Once again, we have something hidden yet productive as our motif. Why do you think its important that Jesus describes the indiscriminate nature of the net in that it gathers all kinds of fish? What about this story reveals the value of God’s rule to you?
The parable of the old and new treasure seems to be making a closing point to the line of thought we’ve been on. What do you think the old and the new treasure represents in this story? How does this fit into your understanding of how God’s kingdom is at work in your life and this world? How can something old shed light on something new, and visa versa? How did we see that being played out in Jesus’ ministry and later in that of the church?
At the end of the chapter there is yet another story of Jesus being rejected. It sort of plays out in the narrative what was implied in the stories of the wheat and weeds and the dragnet. Why did the people of Nazareth reject Jesus? Based on the last line of this chapter – what is it that ultimately informs our sense of Jesus’ value?
This will be a challenging and, I think, interesting excursion through the stories Jesus tells us. Hope to see you on Sunday!