Hidden Treasure: Jesus’s Message of Transformation
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All this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them, and has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us. The purpose of this book is to present the unique Biblical method for connecting with God through Jesus Christ. It does not have multiple steps or complicated formulas, because its power is in its simplicity.
It has names such as unconditional trust, surrender, and self-abandonment toward God.
I feel that it has been neglected for too long in historic Christianity to the extent that it is considered an anomaly. It has been replaced primarily with legalism, which has no power to transform an individual; and things that were intended to supplement Christianity have been made primary. I show how the Biblical method opens us up to the Spirit of Christ, which brings us the Divine inner peace and strength to deal with our human weakness.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
It was transformational. It changed my life forever. So much so, I Jesus Film Project.
In the middle of all these parables, Jesus drops a couple of parables with similar themes: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. Let's look at the point these parables were intended to teach us. What is the Kingdom of Heaven? What's this Kingdom worth to us? But since we don't pay money to follow Jesus, what is the application? The kingdom of heaven might cost us relationships, jobs, security, and maybe even our lives.
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We just need to pray for the faith to receive this truth, and the discipline to live it out. All Scripture references quote the New International Version unless otherwise noted. An issue has occurred. Please try again or contact website administrator. Indeed, activities that violate Torah stipulations Lev ; Deut , such as banking, trading, investing, and making outrageous profit usury , pervade the language of these parables, contributing to an understanding of the gospel as an uncompromising critique of these economic practices.
This detail should not be overlooked, especially in a reading focused on wealth, poverty, and economic justice. Tax collectors were retainers for the Roman Empire and the local provincial elites and many of them acquired wealth for themselves as well:. Add to this the 20 percent of the harvest set aside for sowing the next crop, and the peasant household is left with 65 percent of their subsistence crop, 55 percent if they tithe to the Temple and 45 percent if they pay a second tithe.
The taxes were collected through the Temple, so the high priest was also involved in this system of taxation.
Discovering Hidden Treasure in God's Kingdom
Matthew also indicates that the communities addressed understand themselves as a continuation of the renewal of Israel inaugurated by Jesus over against the rulers of Israel, the high priesthood in the Temple as well as the Romans. It is important, therefore, to explore a few special teachings and actions in Matthew, which illustrate the notion of Jesus the social movement leader with a revolutionary economic program.
In this story, Jesus reminds Simon Peter that when collecting taxes, rulers usually tax others, not their children, and asserts that the children of God should therefore be free. He then instructs Simon Peter to catch a fish, take a coin out of its mouth, and use that coin to pay for both Jesus and Simon Peter.
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Since the taxes they pay end up coming from a fish in the sea, this instruction may show how taxes are taken from the hard work of the inhabitants of the empire, including especially fishermen in Galilee and the ports of Antioch. Their joint payment of the Temple tax could also be seen as a public act of tax evasion and nonviolent direct action.
HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
Since the temple tax was a head tax, each person was required to pay individually. Then, in Matt , the topic of taxes is raised again. But rather than the separation of church and state or the moral condoning of dictatorship and state sponsored repression of the people like in El Salvador and other parts of Latin America where this passage has been used , this passage may be actually critiquing those in power and claiming that God condemns this sort of violence and repression.
In this story, Jesus knows the Pharisees have set a trap and asks them to take out a denarius and look at it. He may also be suggesting that all the things that humans need to survive—air, water, food, shelter, etc. Also, by asking the Pharisees to pull out a coin, Jesus purposely calls attention to the access to resources they have, as apologists for the Roman Empire, contrasting it with the poverty of Jesus and his followers.
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In addition to special instruction on taxes, there are new economic practices present throughout Matthew that fit into the portrait of Matthew as a reformed tax collector and social transformer. Jesus reminds his followers that God protects and looks over everything in nature. Indeed, the prayer that Jesus teaches all believers to practice focuses on forgiveness of debts, meeting material needs, resistance to oppressors, and economic justice on earth.
It is a direct critique of earthly empire and rulers and how these powerful people indebt and dispossess the majority.