Continuing our series on The Treasure in the Field, Introduction
Clue #2 - “Here”
The second surprising thing about these early clues is that the kingdom is HIDDEN IN THE WORLD. Most people have looked for the kingdom as something that is either locked up behind the doors of the church, or a reality that we will only discover when we get to heaven. But when Jesus speaks of the treasure, he describes it as being hidden in a field. Three of the previous parables in the context of Matthew 13 also speak of fields, and there Jesus tells us what the field represents. He tells us in verse 38, “The field is the world.”
In the parable of the sower, the field represents the heart of one who hears the word. But then we find that as the chapter proceeds, the metaphor changes. Those who respond with faith toward the word in turn become the seed. The sons of the kingdom are then planted in the field (v.38). The message of the kingdom takes root in men’s hearts, and it is then planted in the world in a flesh and blood form in those responsive lives. So it is in the field, which is the world, where the kingdom will be found.
Some people stop looking for the kingdom because they have found the church. But the church is not the sum total of the kingdom. The church is the agent of the kingdom; she has been given the keys of the kingdom. The church is to be the instrument through which the world can begin to see God’s kingdom.
And that kingdom is to be seen on earth. It takes eyes of faith to see the kingdom hidden in the world. Some of Jesus’ parables (like those of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast) were spoken to build such faith. The revelation of Jesus that was given to John on Patmos, in the midst of the persecution he was suffering, was not simply of one who had redeemed the church, but of one who had conquered the world. The heavenly proclamation was that “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15).
While the ultimate fulfilment of that remains in the future, the fact remains that the coming of the kingdom is inextricably tied up with the world. God’s government does not only have to be operative within the church; his will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. It has implications for politics, economics, medicine, industrial relations, education – and every other sphere on earth as well as ecclesiology. Our treasure hunt searching for the Kingdom of God will take us into realms such as these.
So, the parable of the Treasure in the Field gives us important clues about where the kingdom is hidden – hidden in unexpected places like the present and the world. The kingdom is in the “here and now” as well as in the “sweet bye and bye.” But the parable also tells us that the treasure MAY BE FOUND.
In spite of the fact that it is hidden, God’s desire is that it should be discovered. And it will be discovered by those who look in the right place and who are willing to pay the price. The man in the parable was willing to sell everything, and he did it joyfully. The Kingdom of God, like the treasure in the field, will cost you everything: but it’s a bargain at the price!