THE GOOD NEWS: Jesus Christ treasures you
Matthew 13:44 – (Jesus said,) “The kingdom of the heavens is like a treasure having been hidden in a field, which a man, having found, hid (again), and for the joy of it he goes and sells all whatever he has and buys that field.”
In ancient days, men of wealth often separated their wealth into three parts: one kept in local currency for everyday transactions; another kept in precious stones convertible to foreign currency in case it was necessary to flee; and a third part kept hidden for long term security, buried.
So our modern minds need to realize it was conceivable that such a man would die and take to his grave every clue to the location of his hidden treasure.
What was much less conceivable was that someone else, without some serious inside information, would ever find it.
But what is inconceivable is that a man would make such long odds his way of life. Yet this is the man in Jesus’ parable. Shamelessly and against all odds, he is on quest for hidden treasure. Jesus’ parable does not allow for a man with a casual hobby. Hunting hidden treasure is this man’s serious job. He digs. With nothing but his hands, if necessary. Perhaps bearing the wounds. He is obsessed. Desperate. He came to seek that which was lost.
So much so that Jesus assigned him the highest human response in succeeding in his quest. Like a lovesick boy undeterred to ask again for her hand in marriage and this time he hears her say, “Yes,” for joy the man in the parable obtains his treasure!
And it is for that joy that he leaves nothing to chance. He hides the treasure again. Buries it. "Finders keepers" makes for a flimsy legal defense. His joy plots path to undisputed legal ownership through the court. Though deed and title to the field come at high price, deed and title to the field ensure just ownership of all whatever the field has. The man pays for it, with steep personal sacrifice. To redeem the treasure by buying the field, it costs him "all whatever he has." Nevertheless, he does not count the cost loss. By owning the field, he owns the treasure.
Jesus said the kingdom of the heavens is like that — a man in the habit of making a fool of himself hidden treasure hunting who found it and sacrificed himself to possess it.
Jesus is that man.
For God so loved the world (John 3:16), he sent forth his only begotten Son, born of a woman (Galatians 4:4). Conceivable. God, hidden in flesh, dwelled among us (John 1:14). Not to judge, but to save (John 3:17).
And so Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10), to redeem from the field of sin, death, and the devil (Galatians 4:4). God, on a fool’s errand, literally enslaving himself to the work of finding hidden treasure. “(He) emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).
“But God raised him from the dead.” (Acts 13:30) He raised him from the dead and gave him glory. (1 Peter 1:21) “For this reason also, God highly exalted him ...” (Philippians 2:9) Jesus Christ has “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
All for the joy of it! “... for the joy set before him (Jesus) endured the cross, despising the shame...” (Hebrews 12:2)
You are that treasure.
You were hidden.
“... you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) Sin, death, and the devil served as your pall bearers. For “Behold, [you] were brought forth in iniquity, And in sin (your) mother conceived (you.)” (Psalm 51:5)
So that ‘hidden’ is no more than a polite way of talking about that which is to be buried, not because it is treasured, but because it is cursed. A sinful corpse is not ‘hidden’ like an Easter basket. It is buried because it is foul and unsightly.
Then you were found.
“... according to (God’s) mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out upon (you) richly through Jesus Christ (your) Savior...” (Titus 3:5-6)
And so, the Good News — Jesus Christ treasures you.
Christ’s resurrection assures you of your own. So that as the day approaches when your redeemed corpse will be placed in a grave, in Jesus, it will be very much like a child’s Easter basket, merely hidden, prepared to be found and treasured — forever.
Kevin Wendt is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Destin.