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Parable of the Hidden Treasure

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 027

a painting of the parable by Rembrandt

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure was given by Jesus in the New Testament (Gospel of Matthew). It only consists of a single sentence, and it directly precedes the Parable of the Pearl.

From Matthew 13:44:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a

field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy
he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Like the Parable of the Pearl, the intent of this parable is to convey that some rewards are great enough to be worth great sacrifices: the man may have to sell all that he had in order to be able to buy the field, but when he buys the field, he gains the treasure in it, which is worth more than all that he sold. Jesus told this parable to express the idea that even if living according to God's commandments was a difficult thing to do and demanded great sacrifices, they would result in the reward of the Kingdom of Heaven. An alternate interpretation is that Jesus is the man who buys the field, paying for it with His blood to attain the hidden treasure, i.e. Israel or the Church.

While interpreting and applying this passage some have found it difficult to place ourselves in the role as the 'man' in this parable since several scripture verses teach that the kingdom of heaven cannot be purchased. Another way to read this parable is to place Jesus in the role of the 'man'. Jesus may, in fact, be talking about himself since it is he who, according to the scriptures, purchases His church. So, an alternate reading would imply the journey that Jesus is on, the process that is going on and ultimately the 'purchase' that Jesus will make. Supporting this purchase are other scriptures; 1 Corinthians 6:20 says "you were bought with a price.." 1 Corinthians 7:23 says "you were bought with a price...". 2 Peter 2:1, 1 Peter 1:18.

A third interpretation is that the treasure is Jesus Himself, and the pearl of great price is Him as well. Revelation 21:21 says that each gate into the New Jerusalem is a single pearl and Jesus said He is the gate and the way and no one comes to the Father except by Him. As for the buying of the field, Isaiah 55:1 tells us to come and buy without money and without price. Paul learned that everything is dung and worthless compared to Christ. It is not so much a matter of the great cost of the field, but realizing the great value of the treasure which makes the field appear free in comparison. The wealth of heaven is not the gold (asphalt on the roads) but eternity with the One Who gave His life for us.

A similar parable appears in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (Patterson-Meyer translation):

109. Jesus said, "The (Father's) kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And [when] he died he left it to his [son]. The son [did] not know about it either. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, [discovered] the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished."

Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Parable of the Hidden Treasure. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

Parable of the Hidden Treasure
Preceded by
Parable of the Growing Seed
Parables of Jesus
New Testament
Succeeded by
Parable of the Pearl
Parables of Jesus

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