The kingdom might be hidden to the world (vv. 24-43, 47-50) like a hidden treasure or a special pearl that only a merchant searching for it would find (vv. 44-46; compare 6:20), but a few people would recognize its value and live accordingly. Such people would relinquish everything they had to obtain it (13:44-46; compare 6:19-24; 19:21).
Having made this point, Jesus returns to his earlier theme (13:36-43) about only the final time distinguishing the righteous from the wicked (vv. 47-50), reminding his hearers that a single sacrifice for the kingdom may be insufficient: "It's not over till it's over." Jesus then returns to his theme of the kingdom's value: teachers of the kingdom are like well-to-do householders with new treasure, the kingdom (vv. 51-52). Just as each of the previous parable sections (vv. 3-23; vv. 24-43) contained a central section essential to its interpretation (vv. 10-17; vv. 31-35), so verses 47-50 provide a warning that many will profess to be true disciples but that only the end will reveal whose commitment has been adequate (vv. 44-46, 50-52). This warning may reiterate a recurrent theme of the chapter: the uncertainty of the identity of those who will persevere to salvation (vv. 19-23, 37-43).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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