Summary: Understanding what it means for us when Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to fine pearls
What lady doesn’t like pearls? I know mine does. A number of years ago, when Hallie was just a little tike, a Chinese man we knew gave Danielle a string of pearls as a gift. Okay — not what you’re thinking. We were considering bringing this man into our (former) business —and I think he was trying to show off or something. We later found out the Chinese government had a warrant for his arrest. Anyway, the pearls he gave to Danielle were different from the ones we might find in a jewelry store; they were natural, not cultivated.
Now, the most common kind of pearl found in jewelry stores are those cultivated by oyster farmers. According to one online source, cultured pearls are often “pre-formed, and tend to follow the shape of the implanted bead. Once the oyster farmer inserts the pre-formed beads into the oyster, the oyster does its thing to make the pearl around bead. After about six months, the farmers harvest the pearls, and sell them to jewelers to shape and polish.
But, the pearls given to Danielle were different. These pearls we natural and harvested from the bottom of the sea floor. They weren’t perfectly round, nor were they the same size or color. Instead, they were different shapes and shades. They weren’t fancy, and they may not have been highly prized because they we’re large or perfectly round, as some natural pearls can be. Still, here’s what’s neat; someone — probably living near the South China sea — dove into the water and gathered hundreds and hundreds of oysters in order to string together just a few pearls, who later sold them to the Chinese man, who then gifted them to Danielle.
This morning, we’re going to dig into God’s word, and see how God compares the kingdom of heaven to fine pearls, and what that means for us. So with that, please open your bibles to the Matthew 13:45–46. Let’s read it again for our good pleasure and for our listening audience. READ MATTHEW 13:45–46
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Now, before we go any further, I thought it would be fitting us to understand that there’s a few different ways we can look at this passage. The most obvious is that which accepted by the general community. We’re going to look at this, but much like pearls, there’s multiple layers to this passage and other interesting ways to look at it. So, let’s do that by first considering what the kingdom of heaven is, and once we’ve done that, we can see why it is to be sought like a fine pearl.
Now, to be truthful, we could try to understand the kingdom of heaven in the most complex of ways. But to be honest, we can put aside any scholarly understanding and look at through the lens of simply the text. The first place we see any mention of the kingdom of heaven is in Matthew 3:2. Mathew wrote, “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” In v.8, John said to the Pharisees, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”