Posted in Matthew

The Scandal of the Gospel 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

What is going on in this parable? It was common in that day to bury treasures because banks weren’t reliable and nothing was safe in houses because of the frequent plundering of wars.   As this man was walking along it is possible that erosion had exposed some piece of the treasure that led him to dig and discover what was there. The present owner was not aware of what was buried in his property because he offered to sell the field for a price that didn’t include treasure’s value.

The joy the buyer felt when he went and sold everything he had was from the deal he knew he was getting.  What he was paying for the field was nothing compared to the value of the treasure hidden in the field so he couldn’t wait for the transaction to be done. Anyone who heard the story later would feel bad for the owner who didn’t get much in return for such a great value.

What does this have to do with the kingdom of God? Those who understand what they are receiving in return for what they’re giving up will be filled with joy because of the scandalous deal they’re getting. I can imagine an angel coming to Gabriel after the gospel plan became clear:

“Sir, I’m here on behalf of many of the angels that are having trouble grasping this new plan. Let me get this straight, human beings who have rebelled against God and abused each other day after day are being offered complete forgiveness, are being adopted as sons and daughters, and are being made kings and priests forever? Those who deserve hell are being given heaven? Is this fair? And what is God getting in return? Their weak faith, wavering love, and often empty promises of obedience? Many of us don’t feel this is right, sir.”

“It’s not about fair,” I can imagine Gabriel replying. “It’s about God’s love and generosity. This is how He wanted it and we are to serve these heirs of salvation no matter how scandalous it may seem to you and me.”