New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Owner of a House

Another short parable, but I’m gonna warn you that this one also is a bit of a challenge!

Matthew 13:52

52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

The disciples were the audience. Just previous to this parable the Lord asked His men a pointed question, which brought forth this instruction.

Matthew 13:51
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”

The disciples answer prompted this instruction. The Lord then equated them with the title of “scribe”. This is no small compliment and responsibility. But I am getting ahead of myself.

A few posts back I warned my gentle reader that there would be a test, a question regarding the parables that had been explained to the disciples. This test, if you will accept it, can be for you too. These men were learning of the Master. We are learning of the Master. Consider the question for your own possession.

Have you understood all these things?

When did the Lord give this parable?

See Parable Surprises – The Sower of the Seed

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

As noted in earlier posts, this teaching was provided for the disciples “in the house”, after the day of telling parables to crowds. Those that were attentive, that were teachable, they were allowed to hear explanations, get understanding, and with it, receive responsibility.

Why did the Lord give this message?

In short, He gave this parable, not of the kingdom, but of the disciples, (of all disciples?), that are to be considered as scribes trained in the Kingdom of God. He laid a story down (a parable) beside the disciples experience, in describing them as scribes. But – what did that mean for the disciples, to be classified as a scribe?

To be a scribe was to be skilled in the Word of God.

Ezra 7:6

Ezra …. was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses

Combined with a priestly calling

Nehemiah 8:9

Ezra the priest and scribe.

And a duty to instruct the people, priests and Levites

 Nehemiah 8:13

all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law.

To be a scribe was a high calling, and when the Lord mentioned that every scribe, trained for the Kingdom of God (which training these disciples just received), they are to be like a master of a house. But again I am getting ahead of myself. Lets leave the message for the original audience for the next section, and suffice it to say the Lord gave this parable to inform His men of their (and our) responsibility as scribes for the Kingdom of God.

What was the message for the original audience?

The message for the disciples is the responsibility of one who had been trained (lit. in the Greek “who has become a disciple”) of the Kingdom of God, is like one who is in charge of a house, a manger of a house, that is responsible to provide foods, or resources as required for those residents within the house.

But I think there is a bit more than simple distribution to those in the household in a strictly efficient manner being spoken of here. I’m referring to the Lord’s choice of wording when He speaks of the master who “brings out” of his treasure. The manner of providing of his treasure is my point.

This term in Greek is ekballō (G1544) and can be translated (with a notion of violence), as in being cast out, or to draw out with force, (and without the notion of violence) to lead one forth.

I read one study that described the action being described as “flinging out”. To distribute without reservation, to have treasure that is not to be hoarded, hid heaped in the corner, but cast out from the masters treasures liberally and unreserved.

But what are the disciples to “fling out”? Why did the Lord bring up the concept of “new and old”? What is going on here? Is He hinting of two covenants? Of two messages? Of two types of treasure?

It seems obvious (to me) that the reference to old and new would imply to the disciples that what they are hearing from the Lord’s mouth was qualitatively different than the treasure previous scribes were provided to distribute. The old treasure contained truth, yet the new treasure shines light on the old that none could see before. (I’m thinking 1 Peter 1:12)

Remember that the disciples had some training, as children at least, of the Torah and of Sabbath and of the sacrifices. Every Jewish boy learned learned these truths. This “old” treasure would be the basis for the new, yet the new was so much more than expected. And the challenge for the disciples would be to interpret the old to provide teaching in the new. The old applied in a “new” way.

And on top of this task of interpreting of the old, the Lord Jesus was supplying new revelation that hadn’t been hinted at in the Old Testament. This new revelation was to become a portion of their treasure they could and would “fling out”.

What is the message for us today?

With the apostles gone, and with their writings left behind for our instruction, the responsibility of being a “scribe” is just as applicable to us nowadays.

Of course the disciples/apostles gave us examples of the way to look at the old.

One example would be the Passover.

In the old economy, a little lamb was sacrificed to cover the sins of the people (temporarily). The Apostles saw this Old Testament sacrifice fulfilled in the Person of the Lord Jesus, and His death on the cross. The covering of sin became forgiveness of sin, even redemption, and the temporary status was turned to eternality, the granting of everlasting life through His resurrection.

This is, from our perspective, so obvious, since we have their writings and it is so clearly taught in the New Testament. My challenge to present day disciples, who are called out as scribes even today is to search the Old Testament with the attitude of the disciples and pull out truths that reflect the Lord Jesus, and the revelation of the New Testament given by the Apostles. This ain’t no small potatoes as a task, but the rewards are genuine, most enjoyable and a proper response to the teaching of the Lord in this parable.

By the way, how is your treasure increasing?

Study the OT & NT, find the connections and differences, store your findings and then fling ’em around. It is surely a challenge but once your storehouse of knowledge grows, the flingin becomes second nature, since it is a treasure that you want to share.



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