Buried Treasure A man somehow finds a treasure buried in a field. How he finds it we do not know. What he was doing when he found it, we are not told. Unexpectedly, he came upon a treasure he wasn't looking for. He covers the treasure up in great excitement and goes to find some way to buy the field so he could own the treasure in it. The kingdom of God, Jesus says, is such a treasure. We happen upon it in an unexpected place, and we are surprised and overwhelmed when we find it. Immediately we know that we must have it, even if it requires giving up all that we have to obtain it. For him, the discovery of the treasure is an experience of transforming joy. It is an aspect of the Gospel that is often overlooked. The Perfect Jewel A merchant, after years of searching, finds at last the perfect jewel. He is probably a rich man, in contrast to the poor man of the first parable. Pearls were the most valuable things in the ancient world, even more precious than gold, and this merchant has found one of extraordinary perfection and value. A perfect jewel is worth having for the purely aesthetic pleasure of handling it, admiring it, contemplating its perfection. The implication of the parable is that there are other attractive things in the world, but the kingdom surpasses them all and by comparison makes them of little worth. The beauty and perfection of the kingdom of heaven surpasses all other objects of beauty and loveliness. The Dragnet There is a third parable in this Gospel, and it presents an old theme, something that we have heard before. Like last week's parable of the weeds, the parable of the net teaches that we must wait until the end for the final separation of the good from the wicked, and that until then we must have patience. The kingdom is like a fishnet that is dragged through the sea and catches every kind of fish in its path, some good, some worthless. The net of the kingdom will not be full until the close of the age, and then the separation will take place. The time of transition between the appearance of the kingdom and its fulfillment must occur. The fullness and perfection of the kingdom will be achieved only at the final period of history. In the meantime, we must be patient. Finally, after telling these parables, Jesus asks the apostles whether they have understood "all this." They say they have. Kingdom is the key word in today's Gospel. The kingdom of God, or of heaven, is the central theme of the teaching of Jesus. It involves his whole understanding of his own person and work. The kingdom means the "kingship" or "kingly rule" or "reign" or "sovereignty" and expresses the lordship of God over his people and over the world that he has made. The kingdom of God is where God reigns. It cannot be the product of our own efforts. It is an act of God himself to break the power of evil and to establish his rule in the world. God rules eternally, but in the person of Jesus God rules in a new way. In Christ, the kingdom has arrived though it is yet to be completed. The kingdom is both "now" and "not yet."