Read Matthew 13
Parables about the end of the age, parables about the kingdom of heaven, parables about pearls and fish and seeds and Jesus just kept on teaching.
Yeast and mustard seeds and words hidden to some and so visible to others. Welcome to chapter 13. At least Jesus blessed his disciples and us with explanations of two of his parables.
Imagine drinking from this first-century fire hose. You knew the law. You knew something of the prophets. You were obedient in worship and offerings and sacrifices and now you are overwhelmed by these teachings of the One you believe could just be the Anointed One, the Christ.
Do you throw out the old in favor of the new? Putting new wine in old wineskins comes to mind. How do you deal with the old and the new?
Come the last day of December, how many of you will be shouting out with the old and cautiously whispering in with the new? Are we saying goodbye to 2020 with great expectations of things to come in 2021 or did we notice the reminders that the movie Mad Max was set in 2021?
We live in an age where a phone that is 18 months old is an old phone.
We live in an age where a 7-year-old car is an old car.
We live in an age where music from the 90s are called oldies. I’m offended by that.
We live in an age where just about every print media is old news.
George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”
Many have quoted this one. “Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.” That’s surely a universal law, at least for men.
We wrestle with new and old all the time. I once thought I could help a college student with English and composition, but the names for all the terms had changed.
I once went to a two-day seminar on risk management. It was the late 1990s. The course was full of formulas. I brought a calculator as was required and worked through the many problems given to us as part of the course. My brain hurt. Some people brought slide rulers and enjoyed working out these problems. They loved this stuff. I had learned to use a slide-ruler 30 years earlier. My dad was an electrical engineer and he taught me. I loved the experience of my dad teaching me how to use this state-of-the-art device back in the 1960s but I was ever so glad to put it away when Texas Instruments made calculators affordable.
I know, calculators are dirt cheap and old school. Now we have calculator apps.
There I was in a conference room in Seattle, Washington in the middle of nerd central. I needed the mechanics of assessing risk for something other than a night attack or a single envelopment. I was procuring millions of dollars worth of service contracts for some very old training systems as well as for those just coming into service. I needed some mechanism for assessing risk in those areas.
Near the end of the course, the instructor noted that there was software available that did stochastic modeling. It was for those people who didn’t want to work out the math yourself. I said, “How much?” I was so ready for the new.
Every few months my phone directs me to upgrade the operating software. I spend about a week trying to figure out where the icon for my email is now. Sometimes, I just like the old, even if the old is just 3 months older than the new.
We deal with old and new all the time. Jesus framed treasure in the terms of old and new.
Can we understand crossing over from death to life without understanding crossing over from slavery to liberty and a land promised for ages?
Can we understand a sacrifice given once in divine blood without understanding the countless sacrifices given in the blood of bulls and goats?
Can we understand grace without knowing the law?
We can, but how much greater our wealth is it to know the old and the new?
Knowledge, experience, and wisdom are all grist for the mill. They are treasures that we have acquired over time. They might be the old. The teachings of our Lord are new treasures rooted in love. Together we have treasures old and new.
How much better equipped is the person who knows the law and the prophets and the psalms and the proverbs to receive the message of love one another?
We who study all of God’s word are equipped with treasures old and new. We are blessed with treasures old and new.