Lectionary Year A
July 28, 2002
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The theological focus seems to be on the kingdom of heaven and what it is described by these symbols to be like And, the final statement Jesus makes in this lection (verse 52) is also a most pivotal theological point. Also, the other major concerns might include what happens to the subjects He says the kingdom of heaven is like, the verbs of growing, expanding, buying, treasuring, valuing and, possibly the joy mentioned in the 44th verse. This discernment leaves the nouns, the mustard seed, the flour, the treasure hidden in the field and found and buried elsewhere, the fine pearls and the fish to be of lesser importance in this passage. This differentiation between the verbs and the nouns might be an "aha" discovered here. Anchor Bible suggests the old and the new might "refer to the Law and the Proclamation, with a reference back to Psalm lxxviii 2."

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 31 Another parable He spoke to them saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a seed/grain of mustard, which one takes and sows in his field; 32 it is, you would know, the smallest/least (significant) of all the seeds, but whenever it grows, it becomes like the greatest garden plant and it becomes more like a tree, so that the birds of the sky can make their nests in its branches. 44 The kingdom of heaven is also like a treasure having been hidden in a field, which when a man finds it, he hides it (in another field), and because of his joy/happiness he goes home and sells all as much as he has and buys that (second) field. 45 Again the kingdom of heaven is like someone, a merchant, for example, who is seeking beautiful pearls; 46 upon having found one expensive pearl he goes away to sell all as much as he has and buys it. 47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like a fishnet having been cast out and from all the kinds of fish having been gathered in/by it; 48 which when (it) was full the fishermen draw/drag (it) to the beach/shore and sit selecting the good to put in a container, but the bad/rotten/worthless ones they throw away. 49 So/thus/in this way it will be in the end of the age/world order/Aeon; the angels will come out and separate the bad/evil/sinful from among the good/righteous/just 50 and they will throw down them (the latter) into the furnace of the fire; there will be bitter crying/weeping and grinding/gnashing of teeth. 51 Do you understand/comprehend all these sayings? They said to Him, "Yes." 52 But He said to them, "Through this all the scribe/expert in the Jewish law having been made a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone, for instance, a householder/landowner, who drives out from his treasures the new/unused and the old/former things."

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) "A picture is worth a thousand words," so our Savior paints several word- pictures to describe in terms common to His audience/viewers/readers His art gallery portraying what the kingdom of heaven is like.

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