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Old and New, Part 2

“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.  They said to him, “Yes.”   Then he said to them, “Therefore, every legal expert (Scribe) who has been trained as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings old and new things out of their treasure chest.”
-Matthew 13:51-2 (CEB)

Life is always a dance between the old and the new.  The crown of old age are grandchildren.  Neighborhoods are filled with the elders and the youngsters, making for the variety that is the spice of life.  We have new and old friends.  It is fun to introduce the two and fix it up, as we stand in the middle.

The back drop for Jesus statement that the Scribes of the Kingdom would be disciples in the old and the new, is a lot of conflict and rejection in the previous chapter.  A demon-possessed man was healed by Jesus.  The authorities accused Jesus of somehow being in league with Satan.

Jesus responded to this, and then warned about speaking against the Holy Spirit.  Then, he taught about how our words reflect our hearts.  Then, there was the confrontational conversation where the Pharisees asked for a (special) sign, and he said that no sign will be given, except the sign of Jonah.

I believe that they knew about the story of Jonah.  Many of us know that story and we also know what was going to happen to Jesus.  It is true that the last and most irrefutable sign that Jesus is authentic, is the fact that he rose from the dead.  If you read a book like, Who Moved The Stone, you get it, that Jesus' resurrection is the sign or proof that it is all true.  If he did not rise from the dead, our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14).

But, that had not happened yet, and while that was true, or a true foretelling or prophecy; Jesus' point is that the sign of Jonah had already been given and was being given at that very time, as the message of the kingdom of heaven was being given.

The sign of Jonah is the message, "repent".  Jonah and Jesus preached messages of repentance.  The 12,000 citizens of Nineveh repented (Matt. 12:41, Jonah 3:10, 4:11), but most of the Jews in Jesus day, did not.  The repentance of Nineveh is an indictment against the unbelieving Jews, by Jesus.

Repentance leads to understanding and seeing Jesus for who he is, and then to being a disciple.  Jesus preached that God's kingdom has come now, so repent and receive it.  And when we receive it, we become disciples.

The context of the whole book of Matthew, is the message of Christ to a people who are already worshiping the one, true God.  These are people who are self-proclaimed law followers and Bible students.  I would say, that God gave us Matthew's book, for us today; who can serve God, but miss out on the Kingdom and discipleship.  And that's part of the old and new message.

The new era of the kingdom of heaven, was first announced by John, the Baptist, who was Jesus second cousin (Matt. 3:2).   The same message was proclaimed by Jesus:
From that time Jesus began to announce, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” -Matt. 4:17
What is the kingdom of heaven?  The theme of the kingdom was the central theme of his (Jesus Christ's) mission.  His message was the good news (gospel) of the kingdom. Jesus articulation or teaching on the kingdom is important to understand, because before he taught on it, people had some erroneous ideas that needed clarification.

The kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God) is God's rule and reign, here and now, and in future, glorious, fulfillment.  The rule and reign of God has always been, it is here now, and will come in the future.  There is an, "already and not yet", tension in the kingdom of God. For example, some bow now, but in the future everyone will bow.

The kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven) refers to God's rule, reign, and sovereignty.  The kingdom of God, as preached, demonstrated, and taught, by Jesus, is about real impact.  God's power, God's kingdom, changes lives now.  Here is it is, yield to it, receive it; and that means surrender, bow, and let the King have you:  Become His subjects.

Jesus taught about the mystery of the kingdom in seven parables, in Matthew chapter 13.  Jesus says that when you get it about how the kingdom of heaven works, you have become a disciple who can disciple others.
“Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom.”
-Matt 13:52 (CEV)

“Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.”
-Matt. 13:52 (MSG)

We, who are Jesus' disciples are the scribes of the kingdom of God.  The literal meaning of scribe in Matthew, is a professional teacher of the Jewish law (5:20, 7:29, 8:19), but in this context, according to Dick France (Matthew, p. 231):
It is more likely that Jesus is designating his disciples (who had no formal training) as his 'scribes' of the kingdom of heaven.  The teaching he has given them has trained them... Jesus is not merely describing them, but is challenging them to fulfill a role: they have received 'treasure' through his instruction; now they are to 'bring it out' in teaching others.
To teach others, you must first be a disciple of Jesus, meaning that you have been trained in the kingdom of heaven.  You get the previous parables in Matthew 13, or at least you are getting them.  You have understanding.

Jesus says that his scribes (teachers) will bring out the old and new treasures.  There is tension, but harmony of the old with the new.  People then and today, did not and do not recognize Jesus, because they are so attached to the old treasure.  

It is also interesting that Jesus liked to teach in parables, which are stories that are riddles.  To get them, or to understand them, you have to have a certain hunger for truth and you have to humble your self, like a child.

I might have tried to cover too much ground here. The new teacher, in the kingdom, is someone who can tie the old to the new and understands the mysteries. 
Much of my words and thoughts on the kingdom of God, come from Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom


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