51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning (or for) the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
Setting and Context – This parable is the last one in chapter 13 of Matthew. After Jesus had spoken his “Sermon on the Seashore” from a boat on the Sea of Galilee Matt 13:1-35, he dismissed the crowd and went into a house. This parable is not considered an actual parable by some, and is missing from many parable lists. However, since it has some of the same phrases and structure of previous parables, we will analyze it as we have done the other parables on this same occasion.
Audience Relevance – This saying or parable was given to his disciples alone within a house. It is generally understood as the Rabbi (or the Master/Teacher), addressing his followers as the “new scribes” for the new kingdom. Notice Jesus specifically addressing the present disciples: “… Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” I would consider it a mistake to make an application to other Christians beyond the miraculously empowered first century disciples without considering their unique position of responsibility.
Kingdom – In the previous parables he was explaining what the “kingdom of heaven” would be like. Here he is beginning to explain what the responsibilities of his “scribes” would be in that kingdom. Here are the definitions for “scribe” and “instructed” in this text:
scribe – G1122 γραμματεύς grammateus – from <G1121> (gramma); a writer, i.e. (professionally) scribe or secretary :- scribe, town-clerk. For more on old testament scribes see: Jer 36:26 &ff; 1Chron 24:6; Est 3:12; Ezra 7:6, 10; Neh 8:5-8
instructed – G3100 μαθητεύω mathēteuō – from <G3101> (mathetes); intransitive to become a pupil; transitive to disciple, i.e. enroll as scholar :- be disciple, instruct, teach.
householder – G3617 οἰκοδεσπότης oikodespotēs – from <G3624> (oikos) and <G1203> (despotes); the head of a family :- goodman (of the house), householder, master of the house.
In the soon to begin building of the kingdom, these intimate disciples would be given essential roles Therefore, Jesus is preparing them for their duties in the “house of God” when he is gone. In the first century, the apostles and later other Godly men and women, were given “gifts” of miraculous signs and wonders. By this “power” Acts 1:5,8 and inspiration they proclaimed the gospel to all mankind. It was in God’s plan to spread the “good news” of salvation through both men and women who were empowered by the holy spirit Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21. Early in Christ’s ministry he sent the twelve out to preach this message: “… And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matt 10:5-7. After Christ’s resurrection he commissioned the remaining eleven apostles to continue the spread of the kingdom, assuring them that he would be with them even unto the end of the age in which they were then living Matt 28:18-20. For more explanation of how God empowered the spread of the kingdom and gospel through his disciples, consider these verses:
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
1 Corinthians 12:28
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
Things new and old – Look at the definition of “treasure” in this passage:
Treasure – G2344 θησαυρός thēsauros – from <G5087> (tithemi); a deposit, i.e. wealth (literal or figurative) :- treasure.
God’s spiritual treasure had been held in a storehouse until this time. But now, God was about to give his new “scribes” spiritual knowledge and reveal plans and mysteries that were both “old” and “new.”
Things old – These treasures that were “old” began before man was created, referring to God’s plan to redeem man. The “old” can be understood as the Law of Moses, and all that was revealed by any of the prophets before Christ. These were the foundation upon which the “new” was about to be built. Later, Peter said that the old prophets and writers did not understand what they were prophesying.
1 Peter 1:10-12
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into.
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
In fact, the “old” is what Timothy had for study 2Tim 3:15 “… the Holy Scriptures,…” were “… able to make you (Timothy) wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus….” Later he was taught by Paul 1Tim 3:15 and also given a spiritual gift 1Tim 4:14, 2Tim 1:6.
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Things new – yet they are “new” in that they had not yet been reveled at the time Jesus spoke this to his immediate disciples. This passage explains how the “new” would be revealed to them:
5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’
6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
These “new” things his disciples did proclaim after the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them and revealed what had been “… hidden from ages and from generations….”
3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,
4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),
5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:
So, what is the new?
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.
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (to the gentiles)
This lesson completes the parables by the Sea of Galilee. Here are the links back to each one:
#8 – The Parable Of The Sower – Matt 13:3-8, Mark 4:3-8, Luke 8:5-8
#9 – The Parable Of The Tares – Matthew 13:36-43
#10 – The Parable of the Seed – Mark 4:26-29
#11 – The Parable Of The Mustard Seed – Matt 13:31-32 Mark 4:31-32 Luke 13:18-19
#12 – The Parable Of The Leaven – Matt 13:33 Luke 13:21
#13 – The Lamp – Matt 5:14-15 Mark 4:21-22 Luke 8:16-18 11:33-36
#14 – The Parable Of The Net – Matthew 13:47-50
#15 – The Parable Of The Treasure in a Field – Matthew 13:44
#16 – The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price – Matthew 13:45-46
And this parable – #17 – The Householder – Things New and Old – Matt 13:51-52
Brent E. Hughes