Treasure Day 15 Treasure, Found!: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) What is the “field” intended to mean in this parable?

2) If the merchant was in search of multiple fine pearls, why is one pearl enough?

3) Why is the phrase selling “everything he had” repeated twice?

Matthew 13:44-46

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46 When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Original Intent

1) What is the “field” intended to mean in this parable?
For the original audience, the image of a field was exceptionally common. No hearer would draw a blank when given the picture of a field. The field was common, and open, nothing costly or esteemed with such value it needed to be guarded with high walls. This was the farmer’s land for working, not national treasure. Anyone could walk into a field. No passport or special credentials required. These ideas are exactly what Matthew wanted his Jewish audience to connect with because the field was meant to be viewed as Scripture itself. The recipients of Matthew’s gospel were Jews, well steeped in understanding of the Scriptures, large passages had been memorized by the audience and studied since boyhood. The Law and the prophets were their common ground, the Torah was their “open field”. The precious gospel is the buried treasure. The gospel is not barred off, only accessible to a select few (like the Jews). It is in an open field, available to all. All one needs to do is discover this Treasure by studying Scripture for what it really says.

2) If the merchant was in search of multiple fine pearls, why is one pearl enough?
Like the visual imagery of an open field, the original audience had no problem quickly pulling up the idea of a merchant, as they too were extremely common in the middle east at that time. Buying, selling, and traveling to trade were all everyday life experiences for Matthew’s audience, especially living in a coastal region where ships brought merchants from all across the known world to buy, barter, and trade. Merchants were generally wealthier than most of the population and had a keen sense of what they wanted, which was often anything they could turn around for a greater profit. Acquiring wasn’t the main goal, rather the aim was to purchase for the purpose of selling at a profitable increase in margin. Merchants were sharp people of business. Jesus used this common concept and all the ideas associated with it, to help His listeners understand that while the merchant sought after much, when he found this pearl of exceptional value, the hunt was over. There existed nothing else more lucrative than this highly prized pearl, and there never would be. This would have been such a strange thing for Jesus’ audience to hear and take in. A merchant who was satisfied? What could possibly satisfy the heart of a merchant that he gave up his looking for more? But Jesus used this parable to emphasize He IS that treasure, fulfilling and satisfying like absolutely nothing else.

3) Why is the phrase selling “everything he had” repeated twice?
First, we should be clear in what the parable is not implying. Neither the man buying the field, nor the merchant purchasing the great pearl, bartered or negotiated to own the prize they were after. In like fashion, there is nothing we can “do” to gain salvation and take in the fullness of the gospel for ourselves. The man in the first parable was quite likely a common farmer with little to no wealth, while the merchant in the second scenario was reasonably prosperous. The exquisite treasure was gained by both of them, not by a set dollar amount, but by surrendering “everything (they) had”. Salvation cannot be purchased, negotiated, or earned, but it can be fully taken in. It is not free, costing us nothing. On the contrary, it costs us everything. But note how the man in the first parable entered into his purchase. “With great joy.” We cannot buy the gospel, but we get it freely when we want it more than we want anything else, thereby surrendering all we know of ourselves to all we know of Christ.

Everyday Application

1) What is the “field” intended to mean in this parable?
Most of us living in the western hemisphere have easy access to the Bible. Churches exist all over our cities and even dot the countryside. If this is where you live, take advantage of having easy access to the “open field” of Scripture to study it, learn it, apply it, and hold tightly to the rich treasure of the gospel “hidden” in God’s Word. Furthermore, if you have easy access to Scripture, steward that freedom well by sharing openly the fullness of the gospel with those who don’t know, and encourage those who are already believers to join you in sharing boldly! If you live in a location where the Bible is banned or restricted, take courage! Be diligent in prayer, asking God to show you a community of believers who share in living out the treasure of the gospel. Ask God for wisdom and boldness to follow Him in obedience as you study Him. For all of us, we must remember this “open field” of Scripture is intended for all people because God wants all people to know the treasure of the gospel. Extend it to all!

2) If the merchant was in search of multiple fine pearls, why is one pearl enough?
It’s a little hard for us to pull up the idea of an eastern culture merchant from thousands of years ago with any kind of quick clarity or accuracy, but we can easily relate to something similar in our own culture, the search for more. More, better, faster, easier, shinier, glossier, all the things, all the feels, all the social media likes, all the glam, we want it all. Along with those desires, we are quick to trade in when something isn’t quite fitting our passion any more, exchanging it for the latest, updated version instead. Where are you searching for more? Or better yet, where is it leaving you feeling strangely empty and hungrier than ever for whatever is next? Now you’re feeling like the merchant of Matthew’s day. Jesus pulls back the curtain in the dark room of hungry for more, allowing the light of His treasured gospel to come flooding in and shifting our perspective on e v e r y t h i n g. In the light of His treasure, the other things that used to feel so pressing and important, begin fading away. We have found the pearl of great price in a relationship with Jesus, and nothing else matters like it once did, because Jesus satisfies and fulfills. Nothing else will ever fill us like Christ. Nothing!

3) Why is the phrase selling “everything he had” repeated twice?
For those of us who are parents, grandparents, or even dear aunties, this phrase nearly rolls off our tongue without a second thought, “I would do anything for you” in reference to a child who holds our heart. And it’s absolutely true, we would give up anything at any time for our beloved treasure, even if it cost us everything we have. Here we have perhaps one of the most clear pictures we can grasp of what it’s like to come to the point of complete surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When we are faced with our own deep, dark sin and shame, feeling the full weight of our separation from a Holy God, understanding we can never, ever be good enough to earn our way into His graces, and then, then like glorious light, we glimpse the gospel. The incredible light of this treasure fills us with hope and everything we can give becomes absolutely positively, with great joy, worth it. Paul said it like this, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.” (Philippians 3:8-9) Is the gospel your treasure?!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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