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Treasure, Pearl and Dragnet Jesus! What Joy!

July 30, 2017

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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost                Trinity Lutheran Church

30 July 2017                                                Murdock, NE

 

Matthew 13:44-50

 

Three more parables! This is the third week in a row. Jesus is on a roll. Preacher of parables par excellence! Jesus is quite subversive with parables. He’s got an agenda. It is the agenda of salvation. He compares His Holy Week suffering and Good Friday death for all sin and every sinner to a treasure, a priceless pearl and a fisherman’s dragnet. Leave it to Jesus to preach like this. It’s really quite delicious and delightful for those who have ears to hear what Jesus is proclaiming.

 

After all, when God exercises His full and total reign over sinners … by the Good Friday death and Easter resurrection of His Son Jesus in order to save them, it’s like hitting the lottery! Being given the salvational Pick Six. It comes so staggeringly, so undeservingly and so unexpectedly that it brings such enormous joy and immense delight that Jesus compares it to a man who stumbles upon a hidden extravagant treasure on a piece of property, quickly covers it up, buries it, sells absolutely everything he has and sprints as fast as he can to buy the entire field so that the treasure is his. Lucky stiff! It’s as if he’s just won the lottery! He has! The salvational one!

 

Salvation that comes totally and freely to undeserving sinners through the cross of Jesus is so astonishing and amazing that He compares it a fine jewelry buyer who comes across a priceless, precious pearl, liquidates all his assets and personal property in order to buy it so that it is his. Lucky stiff! It’s as if he’s won Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes! He has! The salvific one!

 

The redemption of the entire world that Jesus achieves by His divine sacrificial blood that reddens the cosmos as it pours forth profusely from His crucified body is so jubilantly flabbergasting that Jesus compares it to a dragnet that nets every kind of fish imaginable, good as well as bad. The fish are sorted out only when the boat comes to shore which is a picture of how it will go for believers and unbelievers on the Last Day.

 

It is one thing to believe that Jesus suffered, died and rose again. Satan even knows that. So do even the most stubborn so-called skeptics, agnostics or even atheists. However, it is something entirely and salvationally different when you believe that Jesus lived, died and rose from the cemetery grave FOR ME!

 

Well, I’m here to tell you that that is precisely the case. This is what makes all the difference! It is the salvation game changer. Jesus died FOR YOU. He took all your sin in His body and all its damnation in your place. He rose from the dead with all your sin buried in the black hole of His empty tomb. He is the Resurrection and the Life, not just in the future, but even now – FOR YOU. He says so. Listen. “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears My word and believe Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death to life,” (John 5:24). Here’s another one for good measure. “He who believes in Me,” Jesus promises, “though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die,” (John 11:25-26).

 

Jesus died and rose FOR YOU. St. Paul preaches it this way: “Christ died for the ungodly,” (Romans 5:6) Incredible! Outstanding! Staggering! Mind-blowing! Merrily mindboggling! Oh, the joy!

 

The treasure or pearl of salvation in Jesus is worth owning, having or better yet – BELIEVING than anything in the world. No matter what the cost!

 

The man sold everything “in his joy.” In his joy of finding, stumbling on, or better yet – being given the treasure of salvation in Jesus – he unloaded his entire life because he now knew just how rich he really was. Again, Jesus isn’t giving advice on sweet real estate deals or how to invest wisely. Jesus is talking salvation! Salvation that He gives. He is the treasure. He is the pearl. So one buys the entire field. Another buys the pearl simply for the sake of having the treasure – SALVATION IN JESUS!

 

Nothing compares with having salvation given to you by Jesus. Living under His Good Friday forgiveness is a treasure worth renouncing your security, your wealth, your works, your self-justification, even your entire life. Everything in this life pales in comparison with having Treasure and Pearl Jesus. Seriously. Don’t forget the four fisherman: Peter, Andrew, James and John. They … LEFT EVERYTHING they had – boats, nets, the family business – to follow Jesus. Think of Matthew the tax collector. He heard Jesus say “Follow me.” Immediately he got up out of his chair, closed his computer, and followed Jesus. Oh, he also hung up a sign on the defunct tax booth that blurted: “Gone fishing … with Jesus!”

 

Think of the opposite. The rich young man. He wanted to work His way into salvation. Jesus flat out told him: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” (Matthew 19:21). What did the man do? Remember? The young man found the price tag to steep and he returned home with a sad face. Why? Well, he failed to grasp by faith the enormous value of the TREASURE or PEARL hidden under the ordinary appearance of Jesus. He was still rich materially but he was bankrupt spiritually without TREASURE and PEARL JESUS.

 

I warn you. Don’t be like the rich young man. Jesus is God FOR YOU. He became crucifixionally poor so that you can be rich – having Him – the treasure and pearl of salvation. Again, I repeat. It is one thing to know that Jesus lived, died and rose. But what saves you is that you believe that He did that FOR YOU! That He died and rose to give you the gift, treasure or pearl of redemption.

 

Well, I’m running out of time and you’ve been so kind to listen for so long. Let me just say a few things about the dragnet. This too is immensely and salvifically incredible.

 

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind.” When Jesus does His Good Friday death it is not like line fishing, baitfishing, fly fishing or sport fishing where He only catches one at a time or just a few very discriminately.

 

Instead, Jesus is like the indiscriminate deep-sea fishermen (you know the TV Deadliest Catch kind) that trawl with a huge net in order to bring in an enormously huge haul. Big. Little. Sharks. Tuna. Trout. Bass. Perch. Swordfish. Sting Rays. Walleye. Snapper. You name the fish. The dragnet nets them. And who know what else! Bottles. Boots. Tires. All sorts of garbage and disposable waste!

 

Christ’s cross is the gigantic crane, winch or hoist that pulls up the dragnet full of every kind of fish/sinner. Jesus doesn’t discriminate. He died for all sinners. For all sin. That’s how the kingdom of heaven works. Jesus’ death is the trawling net that reaches out into the world. It embraces the entire world and everyone in the world. There is no one for whom Jesus did not die. There is no one that cannot possess as their very own the hidden treasure of the kingdom or the perfect pearl of great price. Jesus’ death and resurrection is proclaimed to all people. The good. The bad. The believing. The unbelieving. In the end everyone dies and everyone rises on the Last Day when Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead. That’s when the sorting is done by His angels.

 

Until then, the very treasure or pearl of the kingdom’s salvation is given today. TO and FOR YOU. Priceless treasure. Kingdom treasure. You are lucky stiffs too! You’ve won the salvation lottery. Better yet, it’s been given to you. It is as if you have stumbled on to the eternal hidden treasure and pearl of eternal life. You too have been dragnet-ed and as far as Jesus is concerning you’re a keeper. I’m here to tell you that because Jesus died and went into the blackness of death and hell FOR YOU ALL YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. I’ll tell you again when you eat and drink the Lord’s body and blood in a few minutes. “Give and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Those words are hidden treasure and the priceless pearl! What joy! Nothing compares to that! It’s everything! It is the kingdom of heaven right now on the earth. Nothing will keep you from having it and enjoying it. Right? What would prevent you? Nothing! After all, Jesus is everything!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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