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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Our devotional reading for today focuses on the Gospel text and comes from LifeLight: Matthew, Part 1—Leaders Guide.

Scripture Readings

Deuteronomy 7:6–9
Psalm 125
Romans 8:28–39
Matthew 13:44–52

Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.

Introduction

Nothing in the world can compare with the precious gifts that Christ brings to us in His Kingdom. Our Lord, who gave up everything on the cross, now shares with us the unending riches of His forgiveness and life eternal.

Devotional Reading

In [Matthew] chapter 13 Jesus illuminates the Kingdom once again through teaching. And He introduces parables as a method of teaching. The parable, familiar to rabbinic teaching, is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus used the everyday landscape of Palestine as a source for His parables—farming, fishing, wedding feasts, and so forth. Parables convey a single important truth with the other details helping to reinforce the single point of comparison. While the illustrative details can be easily understood, the meaning sometimes goes deeper and eludes understanding.

After explaining the parable of the weeds and wheat, Jesus tells two more brief parables with a similar message. Like the parable of the sower, they deal with Christ’s kingdom of grace as it relates to the working of God’s grace in the heart and mind of the individual believer. . . .

In Palestine people often secured their treasure by burying it in the ground, especially when unstable political situations threatened foreign conquest. The man in the parable discovers buried treasure and values it so highly that he sells all to buy the field and claim the treasure.

This parable teaches the joy of discovering the kingdom of heaven as God’s great gift to us through Jesus the Messiah. Its value exceeds that of any other possession. Therefore, we are willing to give up everything else for the priceless joy of receiving the Kingdom. Paul says it well in Philippians 3:8, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

Jesus continues with another brief parable (vv. 45–46). “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Pearls were very much prized by the ancient world because of their beauty and value. The man in the parable finds one of surpassing beauty and value, far beyond the other fine pearls. He was willing to sell everything to buy this special pearl. This parable makes the same point as the previous one. The Kingdom is so beautiful and precious that nothing else compares. By God’s grace we give up activities and possessions that interfere with God’s rule in our lives. . . .

Certainly we possess great riches of the Kingdom by learning from Jesus’ parables in Matthew 13. We have learned the message of God’s kingdom fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. We know that the Spirit is alive today in Word and Sacraments. The Kingdom action continues through us. We anticipate the total revealing of that Kingdom at the Last Day, when we move into eternity with the Son of Man. Truly He has unlocked secrets of the Kingdom through parables.

Devotional reading is from LifeLight: Matthew, Part 1—Leaders Guide, pages 54, 56–57 © 1999 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Hymn is “From God Can Nothing Move Me,” hymn 713 from Lutheran Service Book. Video © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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