The Householder

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:51-52)

At the conclusion of the six Parables in Matthew Chapter 13 Jesus asked His disciple this question, “Have you understood all these things?” In the previous Parables Jesus had been teaching the disciple the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. He told them in such a way that we should know that it is a privilege to understand the truths that He was teaching them. “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” Those who refuse to accept the truth of God and reject His ways have been given over to their depravity. “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” (Romans 1:28)

The disciples answered “yes” that they did understand His teaching and Jesus spoke to them yet another Parable, “The Parable of the Householder.” The Parable itself does not point to the mysteries of the Kingdom but to those who have been instructed concerning the Kingdom of God. Here Jesus calls His disciples of the Kingdom scribes. When I think of a scribe I imagine a record keeper or a writer. In that day a scribe was much more than that both in the Old Testament and New Testament times. Let us first then look at the meaning of a scribe.

“Person trained in writing skills and used to record events and decisions.” (Jeremiah 36:26; 1 Chronicles 24:6; Esther 3:12). During the Exile in Babylon educated scribes apparently became the experts in God’s written word, copying, preserving, and teaching it. Ezra was a scribe in this sense of expert in teaching God’s word (Ezra 7:6). “This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.” (Ezra 7:6) (Holman)

“A professional group of such scribes developed by New Testament times, most being Pharisees (Mark 2:16).” “When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16) (Holman)

“They interpreted the law, taught it to disciples, and were experts in cases where people were accused of breaking the Law of Moses. They led in plans to kill Jesus (Luke 19:47) and heard His stern rebuke (Matthew 23:1).” “And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.” Luke 19:47-48) (Holman)

The scribes of Jesus’ day were more than just copywriters but were also instructors and students of the law of God. The scribes knew the intricate points of the Law of Moses but they missed the truth of what Jesus was teaching and therefore knew nothing of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ use of the word scribe was not the same meaning of the scribes of His day. The scribes of Jesus’ day were well informed about the Law of Moses and through their knowledge and understanding they believed that complete obedience on the Law would provide them entrance into the Kingdom of God. They missed that perfect righteousness was the only way to achieve and enter and that no man could achieve that. They missed that the only way to have perfect righteousness was through faith in the Son of God and His gift of forgiveness and righteousness. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) The scribes that Jesus was addressing were the disciples who had been instructed and understood the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

A scribe that Jesus was speaking of was compared to a householder. The householder possessed a great treasure of value. A treasure of greater value than anything else in the world and was purchased by the submission of the scribe to the Lord. This treasure is both old and new. The old treasure would be the scribes understanding of the Law of God and the new treasure would be his understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

Every disciple of Christ should be as a scribe. They are scribes because they understand the Law of God and the also understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ disciple had answered yes to His question “Have you understood all these things?” They understood that by the Word of God they would bear good fruit for the Kingdom of God by their faith and service to the Kingdom. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23)

Understanding God’s Word is fundamental to being a scribe of Jesus as it is to being a disciple of Jesus. The implication of this truth are that Jesus here has made it clear that His disciple must be like scribes. The word disciple means a learner and that is a requirement of being a scribe.

At Jesus’ departure to the right hand of the Father He gave the disciples the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) To accomplish this mighty work the disciple would have to teach the new disciple everything that Jesus had taught them. To do this they would have to pray and meditate upon His words daily. “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

As holders of the treasure of the Word of God is a value greater than even precious Gold and Silver. Wisdom in the Word of God is more valuable that all the treasures of this world. “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold.” (Proverbs 3:13-14)

The disciples began with the partial treasure of the Old Testament and were seeking the Messiah. Now that they had found Him, Jesus, they had the final revelation of God in His Son Jesus Christ. “That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3)

As followers of Jesus, His disciples, we have been truly blessed, a blessing that nothing can take away from us. “And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28) As Disciples of Christ we have been blessed to see and hear things that others will never see or hear. “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:16-17)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 23, 2016

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