One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. When my kids were little, they watched the VHS tape so many times it broke so we bought a DVD to replace it. The movie has many great lines, and my now-adult children and I can quote a lot of them. One I use often is: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” I thought of it this past week when I read a note for Matthew 13:44 in The Passion Translation. The notes are available on the YouVersion app, which is a Bible app with devotionals and many translations.
“Heaven’s kingdom realm can be illustrated like this: ‘A person discovered that there was hidden treasure in a field. Upon finding it, he hid it again. Because of uncovering such treasure, he was overjoyed and sold all that he possessed to buy the entire field just so he could have the treasure.’” The note is rather long but I think you will benefit from it. “See also Proverbs 2:4. The most accepted interpretation of this parable is that Jesus is the treasure, but Jesus taught that the field is the world (v. 38). The allegory breaks down, for a believer doesn’t sell all he has (works) and then buy the world to find Jesus (the treasure). It is more plausible to view the hidden treasure as a symbol of you and me. Jesus is the man who sold all that he owned, leaving his exalted place of glory to come and pay for the sin of the whole world with his own blood just so he could have you, his treasure. Heaven’s kingdom realm is experienced when we realize what a great price Jesus places on our souls, for he gave his sacred blood for us. The re-hiding of the treasure is a hint of our new life, hidden in God. See Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 3:1-5.”
I had never thought of Matthew 13:44 in this way and perhaps you hadn’t either. I just accepted the traditional teaching mentioned at the beginning of the note. But it seems to not mean what I always thought it meant. This explanation makes much more sense. Hmm, I wonder how many other verses we think we understand, but they might not mean what we think they mean (read with Inigo Montoya’s accent).
If you’re interested, a few years ago I wrote a post every day, featuring verses about who God is and how they might not mean what we’ve always thought. Here’s the link to January 1, 2012. (Maybe I should get those posts put in book form. I started to, but alas, it remains unfinished.)