51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
The kingdom of heaven. Jesus standing between old and new. Ancient promises fulfilled, while something new emerges. “God’s future was breaking into the present – heaven was arriving on earth.” (NT Wright, Simply Christian)
This is deep. These concepts were radically new and unexpected when Jesus spoke them. Jesus’ central message was that this kingdom of heaven was at hand, was essentially staring his followers in the face. The explanation required layers of meaning, backed up a continual, self-sacrificing demonstration of love by an incarnate God.
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like…scattered seeds, fruitful in receptive soil, something tiny that grows exponentially into something beautiful and useful, a net and a harvest, where evil will one day be expunged. The kingdom of God…grows, produces, is mysterious, is unassuming, flourishes alongside evil, and will be subject to a final judgment.
Wrapped up in this information overload was Jesus’ invitation to imitation. He bid his disciples to walk with him, to trust him, to “come and see.” He asked them if they understood what he was saying. I imagine their answer as more of a question than a response…a shaky “Yes?” I imagine Jesus smiling back, knowing that this was going to take a lot of active learning. He affirms them, calling them scribes (people entrusted to copy the ancient text of Scripture!) They will be like the master of the house, commoners elevated to wealthy homeowner status, a kingdom inheritance! They are compelled now, to share this secret kingdom treasure, making sense of the old and the new to their circles of influence. And bring forth they will! The fact that we are pondering these words today is evidence!
I find it baffling that Jesus entrusted this kingdom message to a select few, in whom he invested divine time and energy, every resource at his disposal. It was God’s perfect plan. It wasn’t just information to be learned; it was the presence of God to be experienced. It was a preparation for the Holy Spirit that would, through people like you and me, make this kingdom real through every tumultuous period of history since, right up to the present day.
The kingdom of God is at hand, my friends. It’s already here and its fullness is yet to come! We are the ones who now have the privilege to take this old and new treasure and bring it forth! May God’s kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, through you and through me!