Matthew 13:52 is one of the oddest verses in the bible – 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.” My head is stuck thinking of “odd sayings” of the bible after last week’s sermon.
How do we take that? Is it an excuse to change everything and abandon what was done in the past? “I’m just bringing out new treasures”…says every heretic, two bit prophet and over-educated under-excited pastor. That should be an obvious dead-end, although the American church seems to be by heresies greatly distressed without the ears to hear. Well then, is it an excuse to formalistic legalism? (Chair: Say what parson? You lost me there. Me: Ok chair, I’ll rephrase.) Do we take that passage as the warrant to torture everything slightly different until it looks just like what came before? The trained scribe is the one who makes everything old new again. If that was the case, I should be able to dust off “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (look it up, chair) and call a generation back to God and shake them out of their lethargy. (Chair: good luck with that.)
Why did a Monk in a backwater part of Germany nail 95 sentences largely unreadable on door and 4 years later the entire world was aflame? Personally I like money motives, the new burghers and the old aristocracy saw a way to stop sending money to Rome. (Chair: personally I like the freedom message, like when you get your big backside off me. That message got every two bit aristocrat and priest’s backside off of simple Christian. Me: okay, I’ll lose a little, and your reason isn’t bad either, chair.) But there is a shelf full of books on my wall that will swear up and down that justification by faith alone was exciting news.
So what does an over-trained scribe think? (Chair: You mean other than when you can get to 5 Guys next? Me: Ha ha) It’s like translation. The well trained scribe must know in his bones the old without losing touch with the time he actually lives. We have this treasure found in a field, or I prefer held in jars of clay. The jars of each generation break. New generations make new jars. Some generations have shockingly bad taste. But the treasure held remains the same. And the treasure is this: I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. The trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable. Because God has given to us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.