Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 20th

The Case of the Buried Treasure

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.

Matthew 13:44

The usual interpretation of this parable is that Christ is the hidden treasure, and through life we are the people who discover him. Then we must sell all we have and buy him at any cost. But that is obviously false. Never, anywhere in Scripture is salvation offered to us as something we have to buy. We have nothing to offer him, nothing that we can give in return. Salvation is offered to us as a free gift, entirely by the grace of God.

Two things in this story are recognizable from other parables — a man and a field. The man is Jesus himself. And the field is all humanity. Jesus came and found a treasure — hidden, lost in the human race, but he uncovered it. And then he did an amazing thing. He buried it again, then went and gave all that he had and bought that field of humanity.

Immediately we ask, What is this treasure hidden in the world? When our Lord came, he uncovered it but buried it again. Now it is hidden once more, to remain until our Lord's return. That treasure is Israel, the nation of Israel. He chose them to be a representation, a working model of God's people, to share their knowledge with other nations. When our Lord came into the world and came to Israel, he found this treasure had been lost to the world. For more than four hundred years Israel had been an obscure little nation, with no voice or glory of God in their midst. They were now subject to Rome. But when he found it, he uncovered it again. That is the story of the gospels. He revealed for a brief time the glory that was Israel. He declared it in great messages like the Sermon on the Mount. He demonstrated it by healing the multitudes, driving out the moneychangers, feeding the thousands, and rebuking evil everywhere he went. In just the three and a half years of our Lord's ministry he uncovered the treasure of Israel, the secret of this nation's life.

But you know what happened. The nation would not have him, and they rejected him. So according to the parable he hid the treasure again, and came into the city and pronounced solemn words of judgment.

But the Lord tells us here that he has not given up his purpose or forgotten Israel. The parable says, Then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Here is the mystery of the cross. Philippians 2:8 says, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! In dying Jesus purchased the right to set Israel again among the nations, as a model to the world of how to live in peace. This reveals the heart of God who looks at this broken world, with all its injustice, heartache, sorrow, and violence, and yet does not forget his purposes. He has preserved the secret of peace in a treasure hidden among the nations which he shall one day bring forth again.

Father, thank you for the truth that you have bought the world, and that you shall one day rule and reign in power and glory in its midst. Help me to understand that you desire to bring your people right now into an experience of joy. Amen.

Life Application

Do I long for that time when Jesus will return and unveil the secret of world peace?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Case of the Buried Treasure

Listen to Ray