The Kingdom, Part 9
The past two days we have been exploring the subject of being certain of our personal standing in the Kingdom and the ‘marks’ that identify us as belonging to Christ. We reviewed the initiation of the observance of Passover with an annual sacrificial lamb; this observance was obligatory under the Law (i.e., the Old Covenant or Old Testament). We also noted that Christ, the Paschal Lamb, made the ultimate sacrifice once, for all people, and for all time (Heb. 10: 1-18). Furthermore, we traced the symbolism of the protective lamb’s blood that the Israelites smeared on the sides and tops of the door frames of their homes the night before they made their grand exit from Egypt. The first Passover’s sacrificial lamb foreshadowed Christ, the Paschal Lamb: John the Baptist made it clear, “[he] saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world!” (Jn. 1:29, MSG). Finally, we noted that we are marked or covered by the Blood of Jesus’ sacrifice (Col. 1: 19-20), and it's reassuring that when God looks at us, He doesn’t see the mess we’ve made of our lives and our relationships. God only sees the mark of the Blood on us!
When we have this assurance of our own salvation and our standing in the Kingdom, then we can reach out to others and invite them to join us. How do we convey Jesus’ teachings in a manner that our listeners can relate to and identify with in today’s society? Surprisingly, some of the parables hold our interest for the same reason they were able to fascinate their first listeners. For example, the Parable of the Treasure Hunter is still very relevant. Pirate stories, both real and fictional, have captivated our hearts and minds for many generations. There is the thrill of the adventure of seeing or reading about pirates taking treasures from the rich (maybe elicits the ‘Robin Hood’ effect), burying it somewhere safe, and then returning for it later. There are still treasure hunters seeking the gold, silver, gems, and other items of worth in sunken ships or on islands (where it is believed pirates’ treasures lie hidden). Sometimes there are documentaries made about such treasure hunters and their successes or failures (e.g., the documentary about seeking and finding the remains of the Titanic). In the Parable of Hidden Treasure, a treasure hunter uncovers hidden riches in a field. He was so excited that he hid his finding, and then he gathered everything he owned and sold it to purchase the field, (Mt. 13:44). Doesn’t this sound like something we might hear on the news? This parable captures our attention, and we can identify with the excitement of finding a great treasure. And this is the message of the parable: we need to seek after the Kingdom with commitment and persistence, because when we do, we will be thrilled by the great value of our find.
To be continued…
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)