KingdomScribes' Vision!

Jesus tells a story -- a powerful story -- that illustrates how God's Truth for today is always a new Word for today. And it also helps us understand that if all we're holding onto are "old truths", we're really holding onto no truths!

(By the way -- if you want to read a summary of this teaching, just read the words in bold...it will actually make sense! )

Let's examine Jesus' story of the "Kingdom Scribe" to understand both its interpretation and its application to you as a Follower of Jesus Christ. The text is from Matthew 13. 51 & 52:

And [Jesus] said to [His disciples], "Therefore, every scribe who has been discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man that is a householder, who, out of his treasure, brings forth things new and old.

Jesus said to His disciples, "Therefore'..." Any time you see the word "therefore", always ask what the word is "there...for". "Therefore" is a connective word and it means that something that's said before the verse is going to affect the interpretation of that verse. This story occurs in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. This chapter is often called the "Kingdom of Heaven" chapter. In this one place, Matthew gathers most of Jesus' teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus' last story, in chapter thirteen, is the story of the scribe who is "discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven." To understand Jesus' story, we need to understand what a "scribe" was in Jesus' day. Some interpreters of this passage suggest that Jesus was only talking to people in His day who were "officially scribes". But He's talking to us all, because in today's Kingdom, you're called to be a scribe. Every one of you. We're all " scribes".

In Jesus' day, people depended on their "rabbis" to interpret and apply the Scriptures to their daily lives. If two people joined together in a contract, and one felt the other violated it, they might go to a rabbi for him to apply the Scriptures in resolving their dispute. But this was not the function, primarily, of a scribe. The scribe was a "teacher of the law". Scribes had great prestige and power and were seen as having esoteric or obscure spiritual knowledge that could only be passed on to committed students -- disciples initiated into the mysteries of the Scriptures.

But Jesus leaps from the natural understanding of a scribe to a new and supernatural understanding: This scribe "has been discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven!" My gosh! This is astounding! Some versions translate this as, "every scribe who has been instructed about the Kingdom of Heaven", but this is not what Jesus actually said. The way in which this is written in the original language is that this scribe is not discipled about the Kingdom of Heaven, but is discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven.

There's another place in Matthew's Gospel that uses the same grammatical construction. It's in chapter 27, verse 57. In it, it says that Joseph of Arimathea had become a disciple of Jesus, not a disciple about Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea was discipled by Jesus, not about Jesus. Jesus discipled him. In the same way, this "scribe" Jesus is telling us about, hasn't been discipled about the Kingdom of Heaven but by the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now don't let that easily slide by you. Grab hold of it -- it's not at all the way we'd normally think about discipleship. What would seem more normal is the way it's used there in chapter 27. We think of people being discipled by Jesus or discipled by a pastor or discipled by a spiritual teacher. But here Jesus reveals that the Kingdom of Heaven itself disciples people!

Come on! Look at this! This scribe "has been discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven"! Have you been "discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven"? Or have you only been "discipled about the Kingdom of Heaven"? Do you want to know for sure you're being "discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven"?

Well, what's it mean to be "discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven"? A disciple is more than a mere "student". A student says to his teacher, "I'm going to hear what you have to say, and consider whether it will be to my benefit to apply it." That's not what a disciple says. When a person becomes a disciple, he transfers his allegiance from self to the discipler. So here's what the disciple says to his "teacher": "I'm going to hear what you have to say, and obey it." God has designed the Kingdom of Heaven to enter into your life as a Teacher, a Discipler. If you transfer your allegiance to that which the Kingdom of Heaven imparts to you, you will be discipled by the Kingdom. And you'll be like the scribe in Jesus' story.

In Jesus' day, scribes were discipled by other religious leaders. Paul's religious teacher was renowned and honored by all the Jews. His name was Gamaliel. Paul was discipled by Gamaliel. But after he met Jesus, he transferred his allegiance. He became a disciple of Jesus. Not only that, Paul became a disciple of the Kingdom of God! In other words, part of who Paul was in fulfilling his spiritual destiny was a man who committed his allegiance to the Presence of the Kingdom of God in his daily life.

Let's look again at our little story: And [Jesus] said to [His disciples], "Therefore, every scribe who has been discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man that is a householder, who, out of his treasure, brings forth things new and old." Jesus compares the scribe (and not just any normal scribe, but the scribe who's been discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven itself!) to a " householder". The "householder" is the "master over his house". In some Bible versions, "treasure" is translated " storeroom". It refers to a safe place in which a homeowner could store his most valuable belongings.

Why would a homeowner "go in and out" of his storeroom, bringing out things new and old? Presumably, it's to distribute the valuable things he has safely stored away for the use of his household. Possibly, he goes into the storeroom to bring out a gold-edged platter for a banquet that night, and maybe a string bag of spices for the preparing the feast. Now, the word for "storeroom" or "treasure", in the original Greek, is a lovely word: it's thesaurus. That's the word we use for collecting into one book, a "treasury" of all the possible synonyms and antonyms for every word in English. In the King James Version, this word is translated "treasure".

Jesus compares this "Kingdom Scribe" to a " homeowner". How is a "spiritual teacher" like a " homeowner" who goes "in and out of his treasury", fetching stuff? Also, whose "house" is the scribe in charge of? And what's in the " treasury" that the Kingdom Scribe is supposed to go in and out. Finally, what's the stuff the Kingdom Scribe is supposed to be bringing out, stuff old and new? If a homeowner stores spices and banquet platters in his "treasury", what does a "scribe" store?

A scribe is a "teacher of Scripture", so what he goes into his treasury for are teachings -- teachings both "old and new". Comparing the scribe to the homeowner implies that the scribe's teachings are his own property. Have you been "discipled by the Kingdom"? Have you stored up in the treasury of your heart, Kingdom teachings that are not only "old and new" but your personal truths? Or do you only have teachings stored up about Jesus and about the Kingdom, teachings that honestly are just the teachings of other "Kingdom Scribes" that you've adopted as your own?

Now -- we're still comparing the "Kingdom Scribe" to a homeowner. The homeowner's "treasury" is located in his "house". If the scribe's "treasury" is located in the scribe's "house", what is the Kingdom Scribe's "house"? "House" doesn't just refer to a structure of stone, sticks or straw. "House" is the "household" -- the family and the family's possessions over which the householder has authority. And just as the homeowner brings treasures out of his storeroom for the sake of his household, so Kingdom scribes bring forth things new and old, not for purely private or personal reasons, but in their capacity as teachers.

What has God given you influence over? Your own life? Children? How about your community? How about the world around you? According to Jesus, if you are faithful with the smaller things over which you've been given spiritual influence, you'll be given "cities" over which to exercise "spiritual authority". Whatever you exercise authority over now, that's your "house", and whatever truths the Kingdom of God has discipled in you, are your truths to bring out into your sphere of authority.

Finally, Jesus says these "truths" are "old" and "new". Most people read this phrase as if it speaks of several "truths" -- some of which are "old truths" and some of which are "new truths". That's not a correct interpretation. The correct interpretation is staggering in its implications. According to the Expositor's Bible Commentary, what the Kingdom Scribe brings forth from his treasury are not "new things as well as old", which suggests the new things have been added to the old things. Instead, the Kingdom Scribe brings out of his treasury "things that are old and new."

What's this? The new truths are not added to the old truths -- there is but one Truth (and His name is "Jesus"!) But since Jesus has ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven, the "old" truths are revealed in a "new" way. In the Kingdom, the "old" has become "new"!

God has promised to reveal to us "the mysteries of the Kingdom". And yet every "mystery" revealed to us can in seed form be found as an "old" truth in the Old Testament. For example: we already know of the "truths" of David's Tabernacle, but in the Kingdom the significance of these truths -- over 3,000 years old -- is made new for us today. The truths of David's Tabernacle are both 3,000 years old and they're new this very day -- if today you hear the fresh Wind of God's Spirit on this truth.

Many people -- especially in traditional, old-line congregations -- are afraid of prophetic ministry. They're afraid that people who see themselves as "prophets" are going to start writing new Scripture like Joseph Smith did. It's important to notice that the Apostle Peter commands everyone who serves the Body through "speaking gifts", to "speak as God's oracle". [1 Peter 3.11] "Oracle" means "God's mouthpiece". This fear that the "new" truths the Spirit brings to us every day can be contrary to that which has already been revealed in Scripture, is not at all unreasonable. But this fear can be dispelled by the fact that what the Holy Spirit speaks through us are in fact ancient truths, but ancient truths brought into our lives with a fresh Wind of illumination. They are "old and new".

The Kingdom Scribe will go into his Treasury of Kingdom Truths, and from that Treasury will distribute to others Truths that are "old/new" -- ancient, and yet fresh for today. Every, successful, Kingdom Believer who is discipled by the Kingdom of Heaven, will find that the Truths of God's Word are new everyday. If you go back into the treasury of Kingdom Truths God has discipled within you, and you bring out a Truth -- is it just an "old truth"? Is it yesterday's Manna? Then you're not being a faithful scribe of the Kingdom.

Here's how you can go back into the Treasury and bring forth an "old truth" that's also a "new truth": Take an "old truth" you know, and go to the Father with it. Take it in your hand and say, "Heavenly Father -- illumine this truth. . . I know what it's meant to others, I know what it's meant to me -- but ever since I opened my eyes this morning, it's been a new day, and I need fresh Manna today (not old Manna); I need the Wind of the Spirit to blow across my understanding of this Truth, to see it afresh."