PREP BEFORE CLASS:
- Watch the film Hidden Treasure. (13 minutes)
- Review all of Lesson 1 in this guide. (Approx 10 minutes)
- Read all of Lesson 1 in the Student Book. (Approx 20 minutes)
If you’d like to download printable pdfs to read in an easier format, you can download them.
- Hidden Treasure (PDF)
WHAT TO DO DURING CLASS:
STEP 1: Introduce Modern Parables (5 minutes)
Modern Parables is a new film-based Bible study curriculum. It consists of:
- 12 lessons that cover six parables.
- Each parable is addressed in two lessons. The first lesson is Understanding the Parable, the second lesson is Living the Parable.
- In Understanding the Parable, you will watch a short film, go through a few questions, listen to some teaching on the original parable in the Bible, then discuss the parable.
- In Living the Parable, you will watch an application video taught by one of six different pastors, go through a few questions, then discuss and re-watch sections of the film.
- The goal of this class is to Grow in your understanding of the Kingdom of God as explained through Jesus’ parables, then live out the parables’ teaching in your daily lives.
- There is a Student Book that goes with this material. Since we have limited time in class to study the parables, it provides much more extensive study materials in it. Copies can be purchased through modernparable.com. The study is setup so that you can read the accompanying chapter after you go to class that week.
- What happens if I miss the movie? All of the material is built around the movies. If you miss a movie, we recommend that the teacher setup a catchup session for the class; or, if time permits, re-show the movie before showing the application video the following week. The parables, however, do not build on each other, so you can enter at any point in the class.
- Do I need the Student Book? You can take the class without the Student Book. However, if you do not use the Student Book, you will miss a lot of the Biblical study that is not covered in the lessons themselves.
- How long are the films? The films range in length from 13-21 minutes. The application videos are approximately 10 minutes.
STEP 2: Watch the parable film Hidden Treasure (13 minutes)
The film opens on a For Sale sign. The film is over after the shot of the baby in a highchair.
STEP 3: Ask questions about the film (10 minutes)
Often comments and discussion points will arise out of your audience naturally. However, if they do not, here are some questions that will help people to start thinking deeper about the film.
- What does this film have to say about true value?
- Was Jeff’s decision risky or a sure thing? Why do you think that?
- What did you think about Jeff’s wife’s and friend’s reactions?
- Put yourself in Jeff’s shoes: how would you have reacted?
- Can you see any comparisons in this story and the way we approach the kingdom of God? Should we see any?
STEP 4: Teach about the Parable (15-20 minutes)
- Read the Biblical Text: Matthew 13:44
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matt 13:44)
- Teach about the Parable
This is an outline that corresponds to the material in the Student Book and Teacher’s Guide Overview chapters. It only hits the highlights of the material there.
- Jesus’ parables are about the Kingdom of God
- The phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ is the same as ‘kingdom of God.’ Matthew prefers to use it since he had a primarily Jewish audience. Luke and Mark use the phrase kingdom of God.
- Many people think the parables are just nice, moral stories that teach universal moral lessons, but that is not accurate.
- To Jesus, parables are comparisons between the natural and spiritual realms that teach His followers different aspects of the Kingdom of God.
- He often begins His parables with “The kingdom of God is like…”
- The comparisons are parallels between things in the story and things in the kingdom of God.
- Some important points about the Kingdom of God
- The Kingdom of God has both present and future aspects to it. Jesus liked to compare the kingdom to a seed that grows into a tree: it starts small but grows through different stages until it is a full-grown tree. We can see this historically from the growth of the church in the 1st-century AD to the present day. It will continue to grow throughout the entire earth until the day of Jesus’ return.
- The Kingdom of God is now under the reign of Jesus Christ. Jesus started this reign when He ascended to heaven, and currently is extending His kingdom throughout the earth. His disciples are the ones who push the borders of His kingdom on a daily basis. In other words, Jesus is actively reigning through His church on a day-to-day basis.
- Members of the Kingdom of God are expected to play active, daily roles in His Kingdom. Entering Christ’s Kingdom is not like buying a ticket to a cruise line . Rather we are to be workers, servants, farmers, soldiers, and sons; in other words, those members of society from whom much work is expected.
- What does the parable Hidden Treasure teach us about the kingdom? The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field…
- Today people put their treasures in banks; in the first-century AD, a field was much safer.
- Sometimes people would die in wars leaving their treasures hidden and unknown. The current owner of the field knows nothing about the treasure (otherwise he wouldn’t sell it!).
- Treasure would likely have been precious metals or jewels.
- It is not obvious to everyone.
- Comparison: the kingdom = treasure in a field. It is so valuable that it can transform the lives of those possessing it.
- FILM: Jeff Smith finds oil, one of the great treasures of our time. Yet the ugliness of the field makes it not obvious to everyone.
- When a man found it…
- The kind of man who digs in fields in the first-century: a laborer working in a field.
- FILM: Jeff Smith, unsuccessful real estate agent = a common laborer
- Both men are going about their daily routine
- Treasure reveals itself suddenly and so requires an immediate, life-changing decision.
- He hid it again…
- The key of the parable: the man chooses to act to acquire the treasure. It requires quick, smart thinking.
- Is hiding it unethical?
- It is the owner’s responsibility to know what he owns. If he legally sells it, then the person buying is doing nothing wrong.
- The 1st-century audience valued shrewdness as a key quality. Do you know what to do when a situation presents itself?
- Then in his joy…
- The man’s reaction shows us how we should react to the Kingdom.
- Remember what happened when Ed McMahon showed up on someone’s doorstep and told them they’d won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. They knew their lives would radically change as a result.
- Possessing the kingdom is about radical life-change. The emotions that accompany it spring from the knowledge that everything is going to be better because of what the Kingdom makes possible.
- Went and sold all he had…
- Kingdom must be taken by forceful action. The Kingdom pushes people to make a decision about it.
- Selling everything – is it foolhardy to give up what’s worthless for something that is priceless? Rather, this is true wisdom.
- Although the original parable does not go into these details, it is assumed the man could have been considered crazy for what he was doing. Friends and family could very likely have argued against him doing it.
- And bought that field.
- He completes the transaction, ensuring that the treasure will be his.
- We have seen that the parable of the hidden treasure is primarily about the immediate action of the person who finds the Kingdom to gain it for himself, both in light of its value and in spite of its cost.
- Although it may appear to be an unwise decision from the world’s eyes, it is the utmost wisdom to give up what is nearly worthless for something absolutely priceless.
- Such a situation demands quick thinking and even quicker action on the part of the potential disciple. After all, unless action is taken, it is possible that the treasure might be lost forever.
- End with Discussion/Questions
For the final part of the class, you can cover any questions that might come up or discuss an aspect of the parable that you feel is important to stress.
WHAT TO TELL THE CLASS BEFORE NEXT WEEK:
Tell your students to read the Introduction and Lesson 1 in their Student Book. The material in that book will go into greater depth on the parable.
Next week: Hidden Treasure Application Vdeo.