Parable of the Householder

Matthew 13 52

Q. Mt 13:52 And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” What does that mean?

A. Jesus compared His disciples to a scribe in a good sense, as a teacher of the law. Having been taught the kingdom of heaven and understood it, they are in turn to teach others. They are to give, not get or keep. Their responsibility is to feed other servants Mt 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?

The new and old treasures therefore have to do with the laws of the kingdom. Mt 13:52 uses “new” and “old” together by way of comparison, not contrast. If you look up “new” and “old” appearing together in the same verse in the NT, you’ll find it 10 times besides our text:

• new wine in old wineskins (Mt 9:17; Mk 2:22; Lk 5:37, 39) – contrast
• new cloth on old garment (Mk 2:21; Lk 5:36) – contrast;
• new vs. old wine (Lk 5:39) – contrast;
• old leaven vs. new lump (1 Co 5:7) – contrast;
• old vs. new things (2 Co 5:17) – contrast;
• old vs. new covenant (Heb 8:13) – contrast;
• new and old commandment (1 Jn 2:7) – comparison.

The first 9 verses all contrast the new teaching with the old structure. Only the last verse points to continuity between the new and the old command and directly parallels Mt 13:52:
1 Jn 2:7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.
I believe therefore the old and new things refer to commandments which God’s people have heard in the past but were unable to keep, but which in Christ they are now able to fulfill because of His enabling. This is what we as His disciples should teach – abiding in Him and walking in the same manner as He walked (1 Jn 2:6).

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