What pictures come to mind when you think of a great preacher or teacher? There are several images in the Bible. Perhaps you imagine an Old Testament prophet who announces the holiness and glory of God. Maybe you imagine a New Testament shepherd who carefully teaches and instructs his church through various circumstances. In general, maybe you imagine a dynamic speaker or a great motivator.
In Matthew 13, after teaching the value of the kingdom through parables, Jesus asks His disciples, “Have you understood all these things?” (13:51). They answer, “Yes,” but over and over they reveal their need for further explanation of what they’ve heard. Later, in Matthew 15, Jesus will ask them again, “Are you still without understanding?” (15:16). Clearly, understanding is important (and difficult) for the life of a disciple. If Jesus, the greatest teacher in history, had to slow down and reteach for clarity, how much more difficult will it be for us to lead people in truth and teach them to share it with others?
To be effective preachers and teachers of the kingdom, we must have a clear understanding of the weight of responsibility that has been entrusted to us. In verse 52, Jesus compares His disciples to scribes or teachers of the law. Scribes were those who were properly trained to instruct others. They had authority and wisdom concerning the right understanding of the law. Yet, Jesus’ comparison draws attention to the difference between His disciples and the Jewish scribes.
See, the Jewish scribes, including the Pharisees, ultimately failed to grasp the full message of Jesus and His kingdom. They relied on what is “old” because they had not been instructed in the “new” secrets of the kingdom. Jesus tells them this is why He taught in parables. It is not that these things were truly new. They’ve been hidden since the foundation of the world (13:35) but have now been revealed in Jesus. All the old is made clear in light of the new. Jesus tells His disciples that it is their role as scribes of the kingdom of heaven to bring out “what is new and what is old,” leaving nothing behind.
I love the imagery that Jesus gives in describing this responsibility of preaching and teaching. In Matthew 13:52, He says, “… every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom treasures new and old.” The picture Jesus is painting is that the Word of God is a storeroom and the truths of the kingdom in it are treasures to be displayed. He wants us to see our responsibility as preachers and teachers as simply taking the treasures in the storeroom and showcasing them for all to see!
As disciples of Jesus and teachers of His Word, there is storeroom of treasures available to us called the Bible. Our responsibility as pastors and teachers is to continually search the Bible and display the full meaning of it by connecting it to Jesus and His riches. The kingdom of God is our pearl of great price and Jesus is the “yes and amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20) to all we need. Let’s be devoted to this storeroom and showcase the great value and beauty of its treasures!