Jesus, the Subversive, Part 4 of 4

Reflections on Matthew 13.31-33, 44

Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”[1]

A hidden treasure in a field, found? Lucky!

Then hidden? Dishonesty!

Everything sold to buy the field? Thievery!

In Jesus’ day, a similar parable was in circulation: A man had a field with a buried treasure, but he did not know it. He died, bequeathing the field to his son, who later sold it. The buyer, plowing the field, discovered the treasure.[2]

This version of the tale eliminates the immorality, but Jesus, in his telling, retains it.

This, Jesus teaches us, is the nature of God’s kingdom! It is treasure, which, when found, always challenges us, confronts us with the choice between righteousness and unrighteousness in our use of the treasure. Will we share it with others or hoard it for ourselves?

For God is no despotic ruler who brooks no disagreement of Divine decree. Rather God, as Love, freely loves us and freely bids that we exercise our free will in accepting the kingdom, and then choosing to share the kingdom of love and justice with others.

Ah, Jesus, ever the storyteller with the lively soul of a subversive!

© 2022 PRA

Illustration: The Parable of the Hidden Treasure (c. 1630), Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669)

#righteousnessvunrighteousness #sharingvhoarding


[1] Matthew 13.44

[2] Gospel of Thomas 109

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