Matthew / chapter 13 (read the chapter)
“Life is about learning; when you stop learning, you die.” —Tom Clancy
After much opposition from the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Jesus began to teach the people about the kingdom of heaven in a series of parables. You’re probably familiar with most of them. The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sows seed, a mustard seed, yeast, a hidden treasure, a rare pearl, a fishing net.
I had heard the whole list before, but in all my previous trips through the Bible, I missed what Jesus said immediately after He was through with His kingdom parables: “He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’” (vs 52)
Do you realize what Jesus was saying? There is always more to learn. Jesus was hoping that the teachers of the law—who were steeped, and I mean steeped, in the Old Testament Scriptures—would embrace the kingdom that was right in front of them. And if they were willing to do that, they would discover that the two were not at odds, but that embracing the one would uncover new treasures in the old.
As far as we know, there were some teachers of the law who did become disciples in the kingdom of heaven, and I can’t imagine all the wonderful things they began to “see” in the Old Testament Scriptures—things that had been there all along, but “hidden” in plain sight.
But as we have come so far now on the “other side” of the kingdom of heaven, I fear that we may also be in danger of only seeing one part of the picture. Just as the “teachers of the law” were in danger of missing out on the rich treasures of the kingdom, perhaps there are many “disciples of the kingdom” today who are in danger of missing out on the rich treasures of the law!
That is to say, we understand what God is doing in this world (and in His universe) best when we incorporate the whole picture in our consideration. Jesus wanted the teachers of the law to put Him in their picture, but I don’t think He ever intended for us to have only Him in our picture (to the exclusion of all God did in human history before Jesus).
God is a master teacher. This means that all of the wonderful things we know about Him today are hardly exhaustive. And, we might even say they’re hardly wonderful, compared to all the things we will learn about Him in the years to come—if we determine never to stop learning about Him!
Jesus didn’t say that the teacher of the law who became a disciple of the kingdom of heaven would only have new treasures to discover and display. No, He said “new treasures as well as old.”
Being a student of God is like being on an eternal treasure hunt. Today, you are holding many God-treasures. Some you will still have, just as they are, a hundred million years from now. Others will be packed away. You’ll have new ones. You’ll have old ones that have morphed into something slightly different.
It will take an eternity to discover all the wonderful things there are to know about God. And even then, it will just be the beginning. God is a master teacher, and He wants to be rearranging your treasure pile forever!