Rejoice, You’ve Been Found, Purchased, and Caught

Rejoice, You’ve Been Found, Purchased, CaughtConcordia Lutheran Church
Matthew 13:44–52

 In Jesus Name

 May this message strengthen your trust and help you enjoy the grace, the mercy and peace for which God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ has purchased you!

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For…   but the Father has

The video starts in black and white, setting a serious tone. It begins in an alley, a man wearing a heavy jacket, his hair pulled back, looking deep in thought.

As the man describes of his life, a quest for something the escapes him.  In between the famous chorus, he speaks of all the things He has experienced, from religious ecstatic experiences, to walking with evil, from relationships to every aspect of life.  A modern version of Solomon’s book Ecclesiastes, where Solomon after searching out the meaning of life, declares all is vain, all is worthless.

Bono’s version of All is Vain, is the haunting chorus, “I still haven’t found, what I’m looking for….”

He hadn’t found a treasure worth selling off all he has to purchase.

He hasn’t found the one gem that is so incredible, he will liquidate all his assets to be able to acquire.

He won’t.

Neither will we.

That is what the three parables we heard in the gospel this morning, and the one from last week are all about.

We can’t find what we are looking for, and we need to realize that.

But we also have to realize that our Dad, our Father in Heaven, has found what He was looking for, purchased it, and is bringing what He was looking for home… a catch of incredible.

So let’s explore, and find the God that searched for us…..

His Treasure Found (Jesus entering the World),

Imagine your salvation depends on you finding something buried in a field. Not just buried, but specifically and purposefully hidden.  The word for hidden is the word from which we get the word encrypted, cryptologist and well crypt.  To make something so hidden it is safe from discovery, and even if it is discovered, it will take great effort to decode and make its secret yours.

How would you find the Kingdom of God and establish it, given that requirement?  Which of us could understand how it all works, how many of us can force God’s hand?    We cannot, and therefore this parable isn’t about us.  There is no hope for us to find that which was hidden, and even less that we will have what it costs to make it ours.

If the field is the world, there is One who has come to it, with the intent of establishing the Kingdom of God.  He searched out the treasure, and he gave up all He had to make the Treasure His own.

The treasure hunter is Jesus!  The Lord, the Savior, the One who would be able to accomplish this incredible task!

But that would mean, the treasure is….. (long pause..)

If Jesus is the One searching for the treasure, the treasure is His Bride, the He was sent to find by the Father!

The treasure is the people of God, revealed to be the Father’s children.

We are part of the treasure, you and I, and all the people of God that Christ can search out and find,

He has discovered us, He has found us!

His Pearl Purchased  (The Father, “selling out” the Son)

As we move into the second parable, it is an interesting side note that the word for pearl in Greek is pronounced… margaritas.

Even more important is the word that describes what the merchant does, when he finds the perfect pearl.  What he does to everything He has, everything He values, everything for which He cares.

He betrays it, He sells out that which He had treasured, to make the pearl His own.  He liquidates it all, basically tossing it aside to purchase that which He counts so valuable!. In modern terms, He dumps it

How people in the world are willing to do that?  How many people in this room are so enamored with God that they are willing to lose everything, just to have God in their life.  Giving up things like chocolate, or that beer?  Giving up your car, or your house?  Giving up your friends, your family?

Are you willing to sell them out, in order to make God “yours”

Again, I would say this parable might be about us, but it is far more true about God the Father.  Having envisioned His perfect pearl, having established what he valued more than everything,  The prophet Isaiah described this perfectly,

4  Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5  But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6  All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT) 

A moment later, these shocking words are written,

8  Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9  He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. 10  But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Isaiah 53:8-10a (NLT)

It was the Father’s good plan to crush Jesus, to sell Him out, so you and I could be His.  Some translations even translate this passage as it was God’s good pleasure to so treat Jesus in this manner.

Good pleasure?  To see Jesus crucified?  To give up the Son, to gain a Kingdom that is made up of… us?

Yes, isn’t that amazing?

We who have nothing to sell to gain the kingdom of God, have been purchased and claimed by God, at the cost of Jesus.

That’s the way God reigns, that is why He is so worthy of praise!

Because He thinks of us as His treasure, and did what it took to make us His!

We are in this net together!  (the Holy Spirit, ‘catching’ people with the word)

In looking at these parables, I didn’t realize until I got to this section how it is Trinitarian, this description of the Kingdom of God.

We found out we are the treasure found in the field, and the pearl for which a great price was paid, and now we are going to be the fish the Spirit catches with the net of God’s word.

This parable of gathering, like the one of the Wheat and Tares that precedes it, are not as hard for us to see who is hunting and buying.  Much clearer here – we aren’t trying to catch God in a net.

But that is how the Holy Spirit works, that is how God works.  His desire is to save all, and so the net gets tossed wide. Like Jesus coming into the world, into the field, the goal is to gain it all. Like the wheat and the tares, we are gathered up, to be sorted out, that which is living, and that which is rotting, dead and unclean.

We are gathered, the work of Christ at the cross ensures we are alive, that when the sorting happens, we aren’t tossed out.  That is the Father’s desire, His incredible longing for the people whom He treasures.

As we share the message of God’s love, of His finding, of His purchasing and gathering His treasured people, we help in this work.  The Holy Spirit works through us, using what He has given us to make this happen.

This is the nature of the ministry God shares with us, for we are people of His kingdom, and this is how it works, as God provides for His people, His children,

For unlike U2, God has found what He is looking for, He has claimed it, purchased, cleanse and gathered us, His people.

And therefore, secure in Christ, we can rejoice and dwell in His peace! AMEN?

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on July 27, 2014, in Devotions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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