Tuesday, 22 March 2016
The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation,
Brad H Young, Hendricksen, 1998
Chapter 11, "The Find" (pp. 199-221), page 200
Ah, Young, counters; these are kingdom parables.
Overwhelming joy accompanies the man who sells all to obtain the treasure in a field. The diligent seeker finds a pearl beyond all expectations. The man and the merchant must risk everything for the treasure and the pearl.
Young points out that in their original Jewish context, these partner illustrations would be taken as applying to the learning of Torah and making of disciples. This, after all, is why they speak not about salvation, personal relationships with G-d or eternal life - they speak of the kingdom of G-d.
The disciple must be prepared to surrender all for training in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is grooming disciples who will transmit his teachings to others. The goal of this educational training is the fear of G-d.'
Abraham Joshua Heschel shows the distinct difference between Greek and Jewish culture: "The Greks learned in order to comprehend. The Hebrews learned in order to revere." If you are to reverence G-d, Young reports, you need to study so that you understand and can obey G-d's teachings in the Torah.
Jesus wanted his followers to understand the proper meaning of the Scriptures in order that they could obey G-d as sovereign. The central role of Torah education and the close relationship between the disciple and his chosen master have been stressed by Safrai. Hesus' teachings concerning the kingdom of heaven exalted the divine purpose for living as set forth in the message of Torah.
Summing this section up, before moving on to Christian Interpretation, Young adds:
The essence of the twin parables is this: the kingdom is worth all a person has - and so very much more! The kingdom is expensive. It costs everything the disciple possesses. The joy of discipleship, however, overpowers every world hindrance.