Matthew 13:51-52

OLD GIFTS USED IN A NEW WAY

Matt. 13:51-52

Jesus said, “Have you understood an these things?” They said to him: “Yes.” He said to them: “That is why every scribe, who has been instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, is like a householder who brings out of his treasure-house things new and old.”

When Jesus had finished speaking about the Kingdom, he asked his disciples if they had understood. And they had understood, at least in part. Then Jesus goes on to speak about the scribe, instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, bringing out of his treasure-house things old and new. What Jesus is in effect saying is this: “You are able to understand, because you came to me with a fine heritage. You came with all the teaching of the law and the prophets. A scribe comes to me with a lifetime of study of the law and of all its commandments. That background helps you to understand. But after you have been instructed by me, you have the knowledge, not only of the things you used to know, but of things you never knew before, and even the knowledge which you had before is illuminated by what I have told to you.”

There is something very suggestive here. For it means that Jesus never desired or intended that any man should forget all he knew when he came to him; but that he should see his knowledge in a new light and use it in a new service. When he does that, what he knew before becomes a greater treasure than ever it was.

Every man comes to Jesus Christ with some gift and with some ability. Jesus does not ask that he should give up his gift. So many people think that when a man declares for Christ he must give things up and concentrate upon the so-called religious things. But a scholar does not give up his scholarship when he becomes a Christian; rather he uses it for Christ. A business man need not give up his business; rather he should run it as a Christian would. One who can sing, or dance, or act, or paint need not give up his art, but must use his art as a Christian would. The sportsman need not give up his sport, but must play as a Christian would. Jesus did not come to empty life but to fill it, not to impoverish life but to enrich it. Here we see JeSus telling men, not to abandon their gifts, but to use them even more wonderfully in the light of the knowledge which he has given them.

Back to: THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW (Chapters 11-28)

Back to: Barclay’s Commentary

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