Revelations from the Word

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The scribe who has become a disciple of the Kingdom of God

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Jesus said to them, Have you understood all these things? They said to Him, Yes, Lord. And He said to them, That is why every scribe who has become a disciple [matheteuo] of the kingdom of heaven is like a man, master of his house who brings forth out of his treasure new [kainos] things and old things" (Matthew 13:51-52 Darby).

After having asked his disciples if they had understood all the parables that He had just told them, Jesus also told them to take into account the old things of the first Covenant in order to build up a treasure in their hearts. In fact, adoption, the covenants, the gift of the Torah, the service and the promises belong to the Israelites, so do also the patriarchs from whom the Messiah came according to the flesh (Romans 9:4-5). God has called Israel the "Olive tree putting forth green leaves" (Jeremiah 11:16), and the apostle Paul used this image to speak to the pagans (Gentiles) who accept Israel's Messiah. In fact, by accepting Jesus Christ, the pagans are grafted amongst the branches of the cultivated trunk of the Olive tree whose root is holy. From this rises a sap, the Torah, which feeds the old branches, the Jews, and the branches newly grafted in, the pagans (Romans 11:16-17).

The scribe was therefore a Jew instructed in the Torah and in the Scriptures; he was capable of examining a precise point in the Torah in order to reply to the questions of his audience, that is why he was also a teacher. The Greek verb matheteuo means 'to become a disciple', 'to be instructed'. When a scribe became a disciple of Jesus, he also became a disciple of the Kingdom of God. He then had the ability to draw his teachings as much from the Torah of the first Covenant as from the new [kainos] things which issued from the renewed [kainos] Covenant which Jesus made with the House of Israel (Hebrew 8:8). The Greek word kainos is often translated by 'new', but it means 'renewed in its quality', when the Greek word neos, also translated by 'new', means 'new' with reference to time, to what is young, recent.

So Jesus did not come to abolish the Torah and the prophets, but to make them perfect, that is to say complete (Matthew 5:17). According to the first Covenant, the pagans were strangers to the covenants of the promise; they were without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:11-12). In Jesus Christ they become saints, since they are grafted onto the holy root of the Olive tree from which they receive food (Romans 11:17). Like the scribe, the pagan who enters into the renewed Covenant, is called to build up treasure in his heart by using all the Scriptures, the old things as well as the new.