Christ The Teacher: The Kingdom Is Like Treasure Buried In A Field

Three parables follow in quick succession – the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price, and the dragnet which brings in a haul of fish.

All these are stories of the Kingdom of Heaven seen from different points of view.

The first two parables – the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price – are addressed to the individual, unlike most other parables which are addressed to the group.

Both these parables emphasize the need for renunciation as a requisite to enter the Kingdom. The gift of the Kingdom is so great that it is worth any sacrifice we make.

In the ancient world, treasures of coins and jewellery were often hid in secret places ‘beneath the floorboards’ or in one’s fields. The man who discovers the treasure by chance realizes what it’s worth, and in his eagerness, sells all his possessions to buy the field. Similarly, the merchant who chances upon a pearl of great value risks all his other sales to acquire it for himself.

The parable of the dragnet is similar to that of the weeds in the field. This huge net brings to shore all sorts of fish, good and bad, plus a lot of other rubbish from the ocean floor.

Once again, the angels on judgment day, move about sorting the good from the bad, saving the good and dumping the rotten into a blazing furnace.

The parables of the weeds and the dragnet tell us two things: first, that even in the early Christian communities there were bad people, and this was a source of  tension in the early Church. There was no such thing as a ‘golden age’ of  the Church when everyone was good, devout and upright.

Secondly, the early Christian communities accepted the Endtime solution, that is, to wait until the Final Judgment when God metes out justice to each, according to his deeds. They really believed that the Lord Jesus would come soon, take the righteous to himself and punish the evildoers.

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