Matthew 13:44-46 – “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
David Platt spoke passionately about the pursuit of Jesus at the Passion conference. His text was Luke 9:57-62, which is a passage that has stuck with me for the last couple of years concerning what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He opened his message by saying that over 4.5 BILLION people in this world do not know Christ. Think about that magnitude of that statement for a minute and then think about whether you care or not. That isn’t to say we should all leave and be missionaries because a lot of those 4.5 billion people live right here in our communities. But do you even care that they are lost and dying? Does that motivate you to action?
We could look at the rotten “fruit” of non-evangelism all day long and try to fix it, but it would be more beneficial if we try to find the “root” of why we are too caught up in comfort and entertainment to reach out to people who need Jesus. And I think the root is that we do not believe, or at least do not understand, who Jesus said He was. Our hearts are not so consumed with Jesus that it leaves no room for worldly things. We don’t treasure His Word. See, Jesus had crowds follow Him wherever He went. He was kind of a big deal. However, these people were only following Jesus because He could fix their problems. They heard He had healed the sick, made the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk. They wanted something from Him. Obviously, Jesus could perceive their hearts and so He would explain to them what it meant to be His disciple. Upon hearing what He had to say many of the crowds turned and headed for home. It was too difficult; it would require too much. Check it out:
Luke 14:26-28: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it.”
John 6:53 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Hard things. The Bible tells us in John 6:60 that when many of His disciples heard it they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” and in verse 66, “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.” Why?! Jesus didn’t actually mean you have to hate your family and to practice cannibalism by eating Him. He meant to love Him so much, that it looked like you hated your family in comparison. And He didn’t want people to literally eat Him, but elsewhere Jesus spoke about coming to Him as never having to hunger or thirst again. He wanted them to believe in Him. They didn’t care about Jesus, they just wanted the benefits of following Him. But Jesus isn’t the means to an end, like those people thought. HE IS THE END ITSELF. When Jesus says that if you don’t bear your cross and come after Him that you can’t be His disciple He doesn’t mean that He won’t let you. He means that it not possible. They aren’t mutually exclusive. They go hand-in-hand.
Jesus spoke much about suffering and how we know the world will hate us because it hated Him first. That would only make sense. But here’s the key. In the last post we talked about the gospel turning worldly thinking on its head. You have to take off your fleshly glasses and put on gospel lenses to see this. It’s hard to follow Jesus sometimes – He promised us it would be. …But the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. And when a man found this treasure he went and sold all he had to buy that field. His family probably told him he was crazy and I’m sure he drove his investment advisors bonkers. But he didn’t care. He HAD to have that field. Any sacrifice made to obtain it would be worth it. It would even be small in comparison. If we really believe what Jesus said, we will not be slack concerning those who are lost. We will pray for them, talk to them, give money for others to go to them, etc. The fruit of an all-consuming love of Christ will overflow towards those who do not know Him. Are you willing to sell all you have to get that field which contains the treasure? The treasure is not health, wealth, prosperity, or even heaven itself. The treasure is Jesus above all these things. Jesus is THAT good.