Kingdom Disciples

The Sea of Galilee

Once, having finished talking about the Kingdom, Yeshua asked His disciples if they understood the meaning of what He just said. And they indeed understood, at least in part. So Yeshua expounded further to clarify: 

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.” (Matthew 13:52)

The scribe in the time of Yeshua was a man who studied, interpreted and taught the Law, God’s revealed Word, or, as we call it today – the Old Testament. By bringing this illustration, the Lord was saying to His disciples: “You understand the Kingdom of God better if you have come to Me with a good heritage, that is all the teachings of the Law and the Prophets. The scribe comes to Me for a revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven after studying the Law and all its commandments. His previous knowledge helps him [the scribe] more clearly understand what this Kingdom really is.” Yeshua gives us the keys to understanding the Scriptures. As we delve deeper into the whole truth of His Word, we become more equipped to serve the Lord in different areas of society.

Our Lord compares the scribe to the master of the house, the man responsible for the welfare of the whole family. Part of his duties was to provide his household members with food, clothing, and other goods that they might need. He kept these stocks in the pantry, or treasury, from where, with wisdom he distributed everything according to the need.

Learning from Yeshua about the principles of His Kingdom, we should not be passive listeners of the Word of God, people who only receive revelation from Him and rejoice in Him. We need to be genuine disciples of the Kingdom of Heaven – those who are giving and caring for the needs of others, just as God called the Israelites to do in ancient times. The Lord wants His disciples to become like a master who brings out new and old from his treasury. In other words, they need to excel in helping serve society, basing their actions and wisdom on the principles and values learned from the Kingdom of God.

Are we ready to learn God’s ancient ways for application today? Do we want Him to expand our understanding, entrusting us with an ongoing deeper revelation of His Word, revelation that becomes our commission? How well have we learned and mastered His previous revelations recorded in the Old Testament? Will we be disciples of the Kingdom, properly distributing His treasures – the truths of God’s Word?

The first disciples of the Savior, the Apostles, preached having the Old Testament only, and they treated it as the Word of God. You can truly know God only by combining the Old Testament scriptures and the Gospel message! 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Every child of God has in his hands a God-given instrument designed to equip him completely for his work, God’s Word.

The Old Testament teaches God’s perspective on how society should function based on God’s principles and values, and at the same time points to the coming of the Messiah. The New Covenant tells the Messiah story and expounds on the walk of faith now that Messiah has come. Glory to God for His salvation in Yeshua!

I agree with what Craig Keener (PhD,) professor of New Testament states:

“God gave us eternal principles, but he gave them to us in specific concrete forms, addressing real situations. He gave us those principles in the form of illustrations, to show us how those principles work out in real-life situations, because he wanted to make sure that we would apply them to our own real-life situations.” [1]

Let’s have a look at an example from the book of Deuteronomy.

Build a parapet around your roof, lest you incur bloodguilt if someone falls off. (Deuteronomy 22:8)

The Lord was teaching the Israelites to be concerned for our neighbor’s safety. Even though most of us no longer have flat roofs onto which we invite our neighbors, the life application today might be, “Make your colleague fasten her seatbelt when she/he rides with you to work.” Why? Because her life has value! If you are working at a construction company that builds houses, make sure that everything you build is safe and secure for the future inhabitants you are building for. The application of this verse may have a wider range of interpretation today, but the point is the same.

May the Spirit of the Lord, which was sent to instruct us in all truth, help us to understand the heart of God and remove from our minds the veil woven from the many threads of traditions, human wisdom and religious prejudices that cloud the heavenly perspective. Let us learn and apply God’s Word that He might bless our families, communities and countries in this difficult season.  

1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Second Edition: ©2014 by Craig S. Keener.