The Scriptorium

The Value of the Kingdom

It's worth more than everything. Matthew 13.44-50

Matthew 13: Kingdom Extravaganza (5)

Pray Psalm 138.7, 8.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Sing Psalm 138.7, 8.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Your Right Hand will save and keep me; all I need You will supply.
For Your love is everlasting, reaching from beyond the sky.
You will not forsake or leave me; You will save me when I cry.

Read Matthew 13.1-50; meditate on verses 44-50.

Prepare.
1. According to Jesus, how valuable is the Kingdom of God?

2. What new insight to the Kingdom does the parable of the dragnet offer?

Meditate.

These three parables address the subject of the value of the Kingdom. How valuable is it? How should we regard the Kingdom, in terms of its value in relation to other things?

Jesus had already commanded His followers to seek the Kingdom as the defining priority of their lives (Matt. 6.33). He taught us to pray that the Kingdom might come on earth with the same presence, radiance, and power it has in heaven (Matt. 6.10). Here He emphasizes the great value of the Kingdom: The Kingdom is not merely as valuable as anything we could imagine or possess; it is more valuable than everything else. The man and the merchant in the first two parables sold everything they had to gain the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom, Jesus says, is more valuable than everything you have or ever can have.

Is this the way we think about the Kingdom of God?

The parable of the dragnet (vv. 47-50) also emphasizes the value of the Kingdom, for a great catch of fish such as is here described would have brought great joy to the fishermen who achieved it. But this parable goes one step further, and adds an aspect to the Kingdom which was previously alluded to in verse 41, but only in passing. Here we learn that, when the final gathering of the Kingdom is accomplished “at the end of the age” (v. 49), there will be many among the true citizens of the Kingdom who don’t belong there. In the Kingdom of God there are true citizens – the just; and pretenders – the wicked. Augustine described the intermingling of the two cities – of God and of man – throughout this temporal dispensation. Here Jesus provides the basis for such thinking.

This parable, while emphasizing the value of the Kingdom, begs an important question: Am I a true and just citizen of the Kingdom of God? Or am I a wicked pretender, fooling the people who know me, and fooling myself as well? And if I am the latter, I must be warned: A day of separation is coming, and the final disposition of the wicked will be terrible, indeed.

Jesus offers this parable as a warning to – as Peter puts it – make our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1.5-11), by bringing forth Kingdom fruit that declares its great value to the people in our world.

Reflect.
1. How can we tell how much someone values the Kingdom of God?

2. Compare verses 41 and 49. What do these suggest about the extent of the Kingdom, as well as its composition?

3. What can we do to make sure that we are true and just citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God?

At the end of this present age the good fish are to be sorted into baskets and the bad ones thrown away. Then all the elect will be received into eternal dwellings, and the condemned will be led away into external darkness, since they have lost the light of the kingdom within them. Meanwhile the fishing net of faith holds us together as intermingled fish both good and bad.
Gregory the Great (540-604), Forty Gospel Homilies 11.4

Strengthen me, Lord, to make my calling and election sure today as I…

Pray Psalm 138.1-6.
Ask the Lord for boldness and strength to hear His words, seek His Kingdom, and live as His witness today.

Sing Psalm 138.1-6.
Psalm 138.1-6 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
I will give You thanks and praise You, God of gods, with all my heart.
I will bow before Your temple, grateful praise to You impart.
For Your Name and for Your glory, You have magnified Your Word!

On the day I called You answered, made me bold within my soul.
When I walk in troubled places, You revive and make me whole.
For Your hand will gently shield me, and my fearsome foes control.

All the kings of earth will praise You when Your words of truth they hear.
Of Your ways, of Your great glory gladly they will loudly cheer.
For the proud shall not approach You, yet You hold the lowly dear.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore