#15 – The Treasure in a Field – Matt 13:44

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

This is another parable that begins with “…the kingdom of heaven is like…”

Setting  –  The parable is told by Jesus in about 30 to 33 A.D. in Galilee.  A man, maybe a laborer, finds a treasure in a field that he does not own.  Likely the current owner of the field is unaware of it.  Maybe a previous owner had buried it and then died.  The man is honest and does not just take the treasure; he legally purchases the field so that he might own it.  Similar to both the parable of The Sower and the parable of The Tares, the “field” should be considered as the land of the Jews, i.e. the promised land, to which Christ was sent for his ministry.

ContextThis parable was told just after Jesus had spoken his “Sermon on the Seashore” from a boat on the sea of Galilee Matt 13:1-35.  He had dismissed the crowd and gone with his disciples into a house Matt 13:36.  In Matthew’s account it is sandwiched between his explanation of the parable of The Tares and the parable of The Net.  We expect that some parables that Jesus told may have been told in other locations to different crowds, yet not recorded again.

Audience Relevance – Why Jesus gave this parable to his disciples and not to the crowd we don’t know.  But he certainly expected them to learn from it and tell it to others.  Matthew later includes it in his gospel for all generations to have.

Found – In the parable a man “finds” a treasure.  Whether he was searching for treasure or it was an accidental discovery, we are not told.  However, a case can be made that men can “find” the kingdom in either way.

Kingdom – In this parable the kingdom equates to salvation, which has great value for mankind.

Value – The discovery is of a treasure so valuable that it is worth all that the man possesses to obtain it.  Obviously we don’t “buy” the kingdom with money, but Jesus is showing that even if entering the kingdom costs one every physical thing in life, it is well worth it for the reward of eternal life.

Cost – Entering the kingdom by choosing to accept Jesus is the most important thing one can do in this life.

  Mark 8:36-37
36  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
37  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Philippians 3:7-8
7  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 

Matthew 6:19-21
19  Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Joy – Jesus likens the kingdom to something of so much value that the man, for joy,” gives up everything he has in life to secure it.  He is happy that he found the treasure.  In the Parable of The Sower, only a few verses earlier, we see this reaction:

  Matthew 13:20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy(Yet the ones in the stony places had no root.)

In the Parable of the Talents (or minas) we see the ultimate result of salvation:

Matthew 25:21
21  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

In Luke we see the entrance of Christ at his birth greeted with great joy Luke 1:14,44; 2:10.  Christ had joy in his disciples then, and in us now.  He expected their joy to be full, as he now expects ours to be full.

John 15:11
11  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

Job 22:25-26
25  Yes, the Almighty will be your gold And your precious silver;
26  For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, And lift up your face to God.

Romans 14:17
17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

 Gift – The opportunity to enter the kingdom (within which is salvation) is a free gift directly from God.

Luke 12:32
32  Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

John 4:10
10  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

Romans 5:15
15  But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Romans 5:18
18  Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Romans 6:23
23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 9:15
15  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

A new translation, The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® has an interesting change, “of” is changed to “from.”

44“The kingdom from heaven is like treasure hidden in a field that a man found and hid. In his excitement he went and sold everything he had and bought that field.”  ISV

This makes the verse more parallel with Rev 21:2,10; 2Pet 3:13 the city (the new Jerusalem, the new heaven and the new earth) coming down out of heaven Rev 21:1-2.  It came down as a gift from God to mankind.  It is where God now dwells with man Rev 21:3.  See also Rom 5:17, 6:23; Eph 2:8.

Hidden – Notice also that the treasure is “…hidden in a field…”  Let’s consider for a moment that this indicates that the treasure is not yet revealed to everyone.  Is there something about the kingdom that was “hidden” at the time Jesus spoke these words?

Colossians 2:2-3
2  that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Mark 4:11
11  And He said to them, To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,

Matthew 11:25
25  At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.

Luke 9:45
45  But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.

Luke 19:41-42
41  Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42  saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

1 Corinthians 2:7
7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

Ephesians 3:8-9
8  To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9  and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

Colossians 1:25-27
25  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26  the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

During the 1st century, by the Apostles and other gifted disciples, God, through the Holy Spirit revealed his “mystery hidden from the ages” to both Jews and Gentiles Eph 3:3-4,9, 6:19.

Brent E. Hughes