The Treasure In the Field and the Call to Sell Everything We Have

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses forty-seven through fifty-eight of the thirteenth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew drawing to a close. One of the most striking features of this particular chapter found within the New Testament gospel of Matthew is not necessarily that it contains a tremendous amount of teaching by Jesus who is and was the Christ, but that within this chapter and at this particular juncture within His ministry He begins adding something different to His teaching and ministry. As you come to and approach the thirteenth chapter of the gospel according to Matthew you will find Jesus beginning to speak to and teach the crowds using parables—a method of teaching which up to this point had not yet been used. The thirteenth chapter of the gospel which was written concerning Matthew is entirely and altogether unique, for within it we find a number of distinct parables which Jesus spoke—most of which described and detailed the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps one of the most striking features concerning and regarding the parables which Jesus spoke is that the parables He told were intended and designed to describe and somehow explain the realities concerning the kingdom of heaven. While the first parable which is found within this particular passage of Scripture doesn’t specifically mention the kingdom of heaven, one can logically deduce that with this first parable of the seed and the four soils that Jesus Himself was seeking to explain a wonderful reality concerning the kingdom of heaven. The thirteenth chapter begins and opens up with Jesus going out of the house and sitting by the sea side, and upon hearing that He was sitting by the sea side great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat. Mathew records how the whole multitude which was gathered there stood on the shore and how Jesus spoken many things unto them in parables. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of what is found within this particular passage of Scripture, for within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus engaging in a wonderful and powerful teaching unto the crowds, unto the masses, and unto the multitudes which gathered together before Him to hear and listen to Him speak. Perhaps the great question that I can’t help but wonder is why great multitudes gathered together before Jesus as He sat there by the sea side. Thus far within the gospel of Matthew we have read specific accounts and have seen several occurrences where Jesus healed many—if not all—of all those who gathered themselves unto Him. Consider if you will the various accounts within this particular gospel where Jesus not only taught in their synagogues, not only preached the kingdom of heaven, but also healed all manner of diseases which were brought before Him:

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23-25).

“And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which himself was spoken be Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:14-17).

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth his labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).

These are three specific examples found within the New Testament gospel of Matthew where great multitudes of people came unto Jesus, and where Jesus healed all manner of disease and all manner of infirmity. It’s important to note that there were specific times and points within the life and ministry of Jesus when great multitudes and great crowds gathered themselves unto Jesus—perhaps because they were interested in watching and seeing what He would do, and perhaps because they or someone they knew was in a desperate place and was in need. There were specific times within the life and ministry of Jesus when great crowds and great masses gathered themselves unto Him with great need—and not only with great need, but countless individuals bringing their own need(s) before Jesus. As I am sitting here this morning I can’t help but think to myself and wonder what it was like for Jesus to see all the various crowds and the great multitudes of people gathering themselves unto Him knowing that they all had their own individual needs. What was it like for Jesus and His disciples to behold the great crowds and the great multitudes and masses knowing that they were all coming unto and before Him eagerly and earnestly expecting to receive some type of healing, some miracle from Him? Perhaps one of the most interesting things about great crowds and great masses is that within those crowds there are countless individuals—each with their own individual needs One of the most interesting features concerning the great multitudes and crowds that gathered themselves unto Jesus was that they all had their own individual needs, and they all expected to receive something from Jesus. I can’t help but think about and wonder what it was like to see the great crowds and the great multitudes knowing that they all had their own needs, and knowing that they all had great need to be healed by Jesus. What was it like for the disciples watching the great multitudes and large crowds of people coming near to and approaching Jesus knowing that they were all coming unto Him earnestly and eagerly expecting to receive something from Him. Imagine what it was like for the disciples to walk with and follow Jesus, and to see the great crowds and multitudes of people coming toward Jesus knowing what it was they were seeking after and searching for. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder how many within these great multitudes and how many within these great crowds truly came unto Jesus because they desired more than simply having their physical need met, but because they eagerly and earnestly desired to learn about and learn from Jesus. How many from within the great multitudes which gathered themselves unto Jesus truly gathered themselves before and unto Him—not only in order that they might receive and find healing for their own individual needs, but in order that they might actually learn about this Jesus whom everyone is talking about, and making a decision to walk with, follow, and believe on Him and on He who sent Him?

One thing I absolutely love about the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is that it bears a strong similarity to the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this book. You will notice that at the end of the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. As the fourth chapter draws to a close we find the fame of Jesus spreading throughout all Syria, and so much so that they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them all. When the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew officially draws to a close, we find there following Jesus great multitudes of people from Galilee, from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. When the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus begins, it does so with Jesus looking out upon the multitudes, and going up into a mountain. Once He was set, his disciples came unto Him, and He opened His mouth and began to teach them. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of what is taking place within this passage of Scripture, for while the fourth chapter concluded with Jesus healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people, the fifth chapter opens up with Jesus opening His mouth to teach rather than opening His hands to heal. Can I pause for a moment and ask a very pointed question to you who are reading the words of this writing? As I am sitting here this morning I can’t help but wonder how many men and women gather themselves before and gather themselves unto Jesus to experience Him opening His hands rather than opening His mouth. In other words, there are countless men and women who have no issue with Jesus opening His hands to release healing, to release miracles, to release blessing, to somehow fulfill, meet and satisfy their needs, and yet when it comes to coming unto Jesus to receive from Him when He opens His mouth, such men and women tend to shrink back, remove themselves, and draw themselves away from the company and presence of Jesus. If you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus you will encounter the tremendous reality that there were those who gathered themselves unto Jesus in order that they might receive from his open hands, and cared absolutely nothing about receiving from His open mouths. It is a terrible and tragic day among us within the house of the Lord when we would much rather receive from the open hands of Jesus while caring absolutely nothing about the open mouth of Jesus. It is a tragic day among us within our houses of worship when we would much rather experiencing healing from Jesus rather than hear and listen to Him teach and speak.

I absolutely love how the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew begins and opens with Jesus seeing the multitudes—perhaps the same multitudes which He had previously healed all manner of disease and all manner of sickness within—and yet instead of continuing the ministry of healing and miracles, Jesus instead opens His mouth and begins teaching them concerning the kingdom. I absolutely love that the four gospels which were written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus weren’t entirely and all together about Jesus opening His hands to heal all manner of disease and sickness. I absolutely love that the four gospels aren’t exclusively and specifically about Jesus healing all manner of diseases, healing all manner of sickness, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, causing the deaf to hear, causing the blind to see, causing the dumb to speak, and casting out devils. I am convinced that if we are truly going to understand the mystery of the kingdom of heaven as it is explained and expressed within the four gospels found within the New Testament, we must pay close attention to the words which Jesus taught His disciples, and the words which He taught the crowds, the masses and the multitudes which gathered themselves unto Him. What we find within the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is not more healing, is not more miracles, is not Jesus casting out demons, and not Jesus raising the dead, but Jesus opening His mouth to teach and speak to the multitudes. In fact, what we find within these three chapters is Jesus first explaining and expressing the attitudes of the kingdom, as expressed within the first thirteen verses of the fifth chapter. What we find immediately after Jesus explains and expresses the attitudes of the kingdom is a wonderful and powerful transition to His teaching, to His speaking, and His presenting the righteousness of the kingdom. In fact, In fact, in the twentieth verse of the fifth chapter we read the words of Jesus as He emphatically and without hesitation and without reservation declared unto the multitudes that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and the Pharisees, they would in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Please don’t miss or lose sight of the tremendous significance of this passage of Scripture, for through this Sermon on the Mount, that which Jesus was seeking to do within and among the crowd was not only teach concerning the kingdom of heaven, but also present unto them the righteousness of the kingdom as directly set against the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees—a righteousness of men which was according to the law of Moses, as well as the traditions, rules and regulations of men. Jesus made it very clear that there was a righteousness which was of the kingdom—a righteousness which was completely different from the righteousness which came according to the law of Moses. What’s more, is that Jesus emphatically declared that unless we pursued and partook of the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, we would in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.

When you come to the thirteenth chapter you find Jesus continuing to open His mouth and speak unto the people, yet when He opens His mouth to begin speaking to them this time, He doesn’t speak to them in the manner they had previously been used to. In the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find Jesus opening His mouth and speaking plainly unto the crowds and masses concerning the kingdom of heaven, however, when we come to this particular passage of Scripture we do not find Him speaking plainly unto the crowds, but rather speaking in parables. I am convinced that there is a tremendous significance behind Jesus speaking parables rather than speaking in parables, for when Jesus spoke unto the crowds in parables, there was an open invitation to seek the true meaning and to seek after the understanding of that which He had spoken unto them. You will notice that at the end of the very first parable Jesus spoke unto the crowds, Jesus declared unto those who heard and listened to Him: “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9). Please don’t miss or lose sight of this awesome and tremendous reality, for I am convinced that within this passage of Scripture is a wonderful and powerful invitation given by Jesus to pursue understanding, and to pursue wisdom, and to pursue knowledge and discernment concerning the kingdom of heaven. I am convinced that there are times when Jesus will open His mouth and speak to us plainly as He did the great crowds and multitudes which gathered themselves unto Him in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters, and there are other times when Jesus will speak to us, and yet He expects us to go deeper, he expects us to dig deeper, He expects us to pursue an even deeper and greater measure of understanding. When Jesus spoke in parables unto the crowds and masses, He knew and understood that there would be those who would hear and listen to Him speak, and yet they would not understand that which He was speaking because of the hardness of their hearts. Jesus knew that when He opened His mouth to speak unto the crowds and multitudes in parables, there would be those whose ears would be stopped, and whose eyes would be unable to see that which was right before them. Jesus knew and understood that there would be those who would hear the words which He spoke and the parables He spoke and would merely hear the words which were spoken, and would leave it at that. There would be those who would hear and listen to Jesus speak unto them in parables, and yet they would not seek a greater understanding of that which Jesus spoke. In fact, I would dare say that the reason why Jesus opened His mouth and spoke the very first parable concerning the seed and the four soils was because Jesus knew and understood the hearts of men, and knew what would happen within the lives of those men and women who heard and listened to Him speak.

I am convinced that Jesus opened His mouth and issued this first parable concerning the seed which was sown on the four different types of soil, for Jesus knew that each of those four soils was presented within and among the crowds which gathered together before and unto Him. Jesus knew and understood that there would be those who would gather themselves unto Him who would be like the wayside—those who would hear the word and understand it not, and the wicked one comes and snatches away that which they heard. Jesus knew that there were those present within the crowds and masses which were like the stony places—those who hear the word and initially receive it with joy, yet when persecution, when suffering, when tribulation arises because of the word of God, they become offended and their endurance quickly dissipates. Jesus knew that there were those who gathered themselves unto Him whose hearts were like the thorny ground—those who heard the word, and yet the care of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and they become unfruitful and unprofitable. What’s more, is that Jesus knew and understood that there were those present among the crowds and masses who were like the good soil and the good ground—those who understood the word and those who brought forth fruit as a result of the word. Jesus began speaking to the crowds in parables because He was essentially drawing a line in the sand between those who would go deeper, those who would dig deeper, and those who would move further in their understanding rather than simply surface level. In fact, I would dare say that teaching of Jesus was essentially like a field in which men and women were to dig deeper in order that they might find that which was hidden beneath the surface. I would state that there are those who are content remaining on the surface as it pertains to the words and teaching of Jesus, and those who care absolutely nothing about going deeper and moving further. There are those who are content with remaining on the surface and have absolutely no desire for taking a step further and actually seeking to understand what it is that Jesus is actually saying. Jesus spoke unto the crowds in parables for He knew and understood that there would be those who would not understand that which He was speaking, and would leave it at that without making any attempt to move further in their understanding of what it was He was teaching and speaking. The parables were not only an invitation for the true seeker to go deeper and to go further in their understanding concerning the kingdom, but it was also a way of speaking unto the crowds in mysteries concerning the kingdom of heaven that would test their hearts and souls concerning their passion for truly understanding the kingdom of heaven. Within the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke plainly concerning the attitudes of the kingdom, and spoke plainly concerning the righteousness of the kingdom, yet when we come to this particular passage of Scripture we find Jesus speaking in parables and mysteries concerning the kingdom of heaven. What’s more, is that even when speaking certain parables unto His disciples alone, Jesus didn’t provide the interpretation for those parables. There were certain parables which Jesus told His disciples which He left at the parable itself, and said nothing further concerning the matter. It was up to the disciples themselves to go further and to dig deeper in order that they might understand that which Jesus was truly speaking to them.

What is so interesting about the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is that not every time great multitudes gather themselves unto and before Jesus does He automatically resort to healing and to miracles. There is this growing tendency that whenever great crowds are gathered together in one place before and around us that the greatest need is healing and miracles. There is a growing perception that great crowds and great multitudes can only be reached by performing signs, wonders and miracles, and by healing all manner of diseases and illnesses. One of the most fascinating realities concerning the New Testament gospel of matthew thus far is that not every time great multitudes gathered together before Jesus did He open His hands to heal them. What we find in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is Jesus—not opening His hands to heal men and women, but rather opening His mouth to speak unto them. It is true that Jesus spoke to them in parables on this particular occasion, but we must recognize and understand that healing isn’t always the singly greatest need that is present within the hearts and lives of men. Consider the man who was brought unto Jesus—that one who was sick with the palsy—and how even before addressing this man’s physical condition and need, Jesus first addressed the sins within this man’s life. Before even healing that which brought this man into His presence, Jesus first declared unto this man that his sins were forgiven. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of this, for I am convinced that in our western mindset and in our western churches we have conditioned men and women to healing, to miracles, to signs and to wonders, and have allowed them to remain completely oblivious and impervious to the actual words and teaching of Jesus the Christ. I am convinced that within our western society and civilization we care more about signs, wonders and miracles rather than the actual words which Jesus Christ spoke—words which the Holy Spirit seeks to teach, bring to our remembrance, and remind us of. Jesus never declared that the Holy Spirit would bring to our remembrance the works of Christ, but rather, that the Holy Spirit would bring to our remembrance the words which Jesus spoke. We dare not miss this incredible and important fact, for it brings us face to face with the fact that healing of our physical body, and meeting our physical needs isn’t always the main focus of Jesus, or even the Father in whose will Jesus operates and functions. If you study the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find the phrase “great multitudes” mentioned often within and throughout the gospel, and there were times when it was directly linked and connected to Jesus healing all manner of disease and sickness, casting out devils land evil spirits, cleansing leprosy, and the like. With that being said, however, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that there were other times when great multitudes gathered themselves unto and before Jesus the Christ, and He didn’t resort to healing their physical bodies and addressing their physical needs, but rather opening His mouth to speak unto and teach them.

If you read the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by the apostle Matthew, you will find him presenting unto his readers several parables which Jesus told concerning the kingdom of heaven. When you read this particular chapter found and contained within the gospel of Matthew you will find several parables which Jesus spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven—those which were spoken unto the disciples alone, and those which were spoken unto the crowds. Consider if you will the various parables which were found in this particular chapter concerning the kingdom of heaven as expressed by Jesus through parables:

“The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? HE said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:24-30).

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matthew 13:31-32).

“Another parable spake He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” (Matthew 13:33).

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

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45).

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:47-50).

Within the thirteenth chapter of the. New Testament gospel of Matthew we find a total of six parables which were spoken by the mouth of Jesus concerning the kingdom of heaven—parables which were intended to speak forth the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and to teach concerning what the kingdom of heaven was truly like. Initially, Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven as a man who sowed good seeds of wheat into his field, and yet while men slept, an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat within that field. Jesus went on to teach a parable concerning the kingdom of heaven being like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree. Jesus also told another parable concerning the kingdom of heaven and describing it as level which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened. Again, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven as a treasure hidden in a field, which when a man found it, not only hid the treasure, but also went and sold everything he had in order that he might purchase that field. Moreover, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven as a merchant man who was seeking goodly pearls, who when he found just one of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Finally, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven as a net which was cast into the sea and gathered every kind of fish in the sea. When the net was drawn to the shore, those who worked with the net gathered together the good fish into vessels, but cast the bad away. It’s interesting to note the use and mention of the word “field” in the parables of Jesus, for not only did Jesus speak of a man who sowed wheat in his field, but Jesus also spoke of a treasure hidden in a field. Within the parables Jesus also referenced and used the word “seed,” for not only did he speak of a man sowing seeds of wheat in his field, not only did Jesus speak of sowing the mustard seed in the field, but Jesus also spoke of seed being sown by the wayside, being sown in stony ground, being sown in thorny places, and being sown in good ground.

If we are to truly understand the kingdom of heaven, it is imperative that we understand it as that which is sown in fields—not only the field which is the world, but also the field which is our own hearts and lives. The field is in fact the world, but I would also argue that the field can be our lives. The kingdom of heaven is likened unto seed, for not only is it that which must be sown, but it is also that which grows, and that which grows into something beyond what we could think or imagine. What’s more is that the kingdom of heaven isn’t merely likened unto a treasure hidden in a field, or even a pearl of great price, but also in the act of selling everything we have. There would be those who would limit the kingdom of heaven to the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price, and yet completely miss and ignore the call to sell everything we have in order that we might lay hold of that which is worth the most. I am convinced that the kingdom of heaven is just as much about that which is of worth and that which is of value as it is in selling everything we have. The kingdom of heaven carries with it a call to sell everything we have in order that we might lay hold of that which is worth the most within our lives. Essentially, the kingdom of heaven demands a great deal of us in that it will not only cost us everything, but it will also require us to sell everything we have. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to sell everything we have, whether we are willing to give up everything we have, and whether or not we are willing to allow the kingdom of heaven to cost us everything we have within our lives. I would dare argue that we cannot truly lay hold of the kingdom of heaven until and unless we are willing to allow it to cost us everything we have, and until and unless we are willing to sell everything we have in order that we might lay hold of that which matters most within our lives. Are you willing to sell everything you have, and give up everything you have in order that you might lay hold of that which is of great worth and value within your heart and life?

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