By Ryan Shaw
The eight parables of the Kingdom in Matthew 13 depict conditions (and processes) taking place between the times when Jesus spoke and the end of the age.
The first four are given to the multitude by the seaside, focusing on human interaction with the Kingdom of God and a general failure in rightly aligning ourselves with God’s true Kingdom. We have considered these four in previous articles.
Inside the house, Jesus spoke four more parables now just to His disciples (or those of spiritual sight.) These four focus on the divine perspective of the Kingdom of God and what it is He sees and prioritizes.
While failure, shortcomings and compromise among believers throughout the age are abundant (shown through the first four parables), God Himself is working in power.
The second set of four parables begins with the parable of the hidden treasure (44). There are four primary figures: the field, a man, a treasure and the purchase of the treasure.
Two of these figures have already been seen and interpreted by Jesus – the field and the man. The field, where the treasure is found and hidden, is the world. The man who finds the treasure and hides it, is Jesus Himself.
The common understanding of this parable is the man is human beings and the treasure is our salvation. However, this contradicts the previous parables as each time the man has been Jesus.
Instead, the man who finds the treasure is Jesus and the field is the world. This leaves little difficulty about what the treasure is that is found in the world. It is the present, hidden potential in the world of the government of God in full operation under the leadership of Jesus Christ (Kingdom of God).
The reality of the Kingdom of God is a supreme truth and yet is a hidden reality in this age, not yet fully manifested. The treasure, discovered in the world, is the Kingdom of God in complete operation in the world as it was always meant to be in the heart of God.
The principles, order and beauty of that Kingdom are all represented as treasure hidden within the world. The world was created for the display of the holy government of God (His Kingdom) setting all things in order under Jesus’ leadership and purposes.
Jesus’ primary message during His ministry was the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the total order of God possessing the total answer to the total needs of humanity. It is meant to be an all encompassing reality in an individual life, family, business, neighborhood, city, etc.
In our parable, the man discovered the treasure, then hid it. How did Jesus “hide” such a Kingdom? This is one of those “mysteries” requiring a seeking and sincere heart, listening to the Holy Spirit with carefulness.
Through Jesus’ ministry we have the ultimate realization of the potential of the Kingdom of God in operation in this age. Some gathered around Him as He demonstrated the Kingdom potential in this age.
However, the very ones He initially came to (Israel) rejected the potential of the Kingdom. They refused His leadership. Israel begun what has continued throughout the centuries – a general rejection of the King. So long as the King is rejected in the earth, the Kingdom of God (in its full operation) cannot be realized.
Having been rejected, Jesus hid the Kingdom of God from the natural eyes of human beings, requiring it to be known by faith. The Kingdom’s possibilities are available to any who will seek them by faith and surrender their lives to their ideals, values and purposes.
The man then purchases the entire field (world) which contains the treasure (the Kingdom potential). He was purchasing the possibility (for those who would respond in faith) of living under the glories of the governmental leadership of God on the earth.
Jesus bought the whole world, knowing the capability within the world of expressing the glory of the Kingdom of God (now in a hidden form and in the age to come in full splendor).
This parable does not give the whole story. It does not cover all the associated ideas of the Kingdom of God. It is not meant to. It conveys the essential concept of the hidden-ness of the full expression of the Kingdom of God in this age and the ultimate realization of it in the age to come.
As believers, surrendered to the values and ideals of the Kingdom, we can experience a much greater measure of its reality then generally is experienced. There are great New Covenant promises of living under the authority and leadership of the Kingdom of God today that must be laid hold of.
Even a small measure of the Kingdom of God transforms individuals, families, businesses, relationships, societies and current governments. Though we know a majority will reject Jesus we also know Scripture promises a great global harvest of millions coming to saving faith from every ethnic people group before the end of the age.