They were just ordinary men, but they followed an extraordinary Teacher. Just regular guys from various walks of life, but increasingly coming to realize that their Master was the Son of God, the Author of life. Yup, they were just fishermen, laborers, and even tax collectors — not exactly ranking among the elite of earth — but to them, according to their Master, it had been given “to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.”
Finishing up Matthew 13 this morning. And chewing on what the kingdom of heaven is like according to the King of heaven.
It’s like a man sowing seed, the word of the kingdom, which, when it finds the right kind of soil bears fruit and yields a great harvest. Yet, while the man sows good seed, kingdom dynamics also arouse an enemy who will sow tares among the wheat.
The kingdom of heaven is like another man who sows a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but one that grows into a mighty tree. Or, it’s like unseen leaven, once it enters the mix it has a way of spreading.
It’s like a treasure hidden in a field, or a fine pearl of great value. And those who discover the presence of this treasure are willing to sell all they have in order to possess it.
And the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea which gathers fish of every kind — kingdom fish and kingdom-rejecting fish. And at the end of the age, the angels will “separate the evil from the righteous.”
Thus, Jesus reveals to His disciples the “secrets” of the kingdom, the invisible dynamics of heaven on earth. Not stuff many really cared to know about.
But these ordinary men had been granted ears to hear. Having received it, they asked questions seeking to understand it. And, they processed it. And, they internalized it.
Now, says Jesus, having stored the secrets of the kingdom of heaven in their hearts, they had a responsibility to do something with it. What they had taken in, they were also to bring out.
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” 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.”
(Matthew 13:51-52 ESV)
The secrets of the kingdom were more than just some fun facts. Not just some ethereal pie-in-the-sky-sweet-by-and-by trivia. But what they had understood from the Master was to have utility. The secrets they had been given were to be deployed. The treasure that had been had stored up in their minds and hearts was to be regarded as a trust. They were to be stewards of the secrets of the kingdom.
And not just the new stuff, but the old stuff too. The law of Moses, the songs of David, the declaration of the Prophets serving as the foundation for the secrets of the kingdom. Not archived because of Jesus’s coming, but fulfilled. Not to be set on a shelf, but to be gloriously seen afresh as having always pointed to the Savior and the coming of His kingdom.
Seems to me, every believer should consider themselves a trained scribe. Maybe not fully trained, but trained to some degree in the secrets of the kingdom. And what they have taken in so far, they should should be ready to bring out.
And it seems to me, every believer should consider themselves also a scribe in training. Not resting on what has become old and familiar, but also ready and expecting to receive something new and fresh. Not looking from something extra-biblical, but believing that the depths of the treasures of the secrets of heaven are such that a lifetime won’t be enough to plumb them all. That every time we open the living and active Word of God, we should anticipate an encounter of the divine kind as the Holy Spirit leads us into truth as we gain new insights, or a new appreciation, for the secrets of the kingdom.
And having taken it in, the Master says, be ready to bring it out. Bring it out in how you live your own life. Bring it out in how it might impact another life.
Just ordinary men. Just ordinary women. But aren’t we also stewards of the secrets of the kingdom? I’m thinkin’ . . .
By His grace. For His glory.