Summary: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” Matthew 13:45-46.
Theme: Look for the greatest treasure
Text: 1 Kings 3:5-12; Rom. 8:28-30; Matt. 13:44-52
Jesus often taught using parables. A parable is simply a story about familiar and material things that is used to reveal eternal and spiritual truths. Jesus Christ, the best teacher the world has ever known, takes what is known and can be seen to teach and reveal what is unknown and cannot be seen. We however need wisdom to be able to understand Jesus’ parables and the Scriptures declare in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” We should in fact be like Solomon who when given the opportunity to have anything in the world asked for wisdom. He asked for a discerning and understanding heart to enable him govern the people by making the right decisions. Without wisdom we will not be able to discern what the real treasures in the world are. The Scriptures affirm that for many people their main concern in life is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Wisdom will make us look beyond these deceitful things and discern what is of real value in the world and in eternity. Wisdom will make us look for the greatest treasure.
This parable about the treasure in the field stresses the great value of the Kingdom of God. A common interpretation of this parable is that a person should be willing to part with everything in order to possess the Kingdom of God. Although this is true this parable could also be referring to Christ who gave all He had for the Kingdom of God. The pearl of great value also stresses the same thing – the value of the Kingdom of God. It cost the man everything that he had to possess it.
In the parables of Jesus in Matthew 13, the field is always used to refer to the world. With this understanding, the treasure in the field is therefore God’s people in the world and the man who bought the field is Christ. Who else could purchase the world? When the man found the treasure in the field, he hid it and decided to buy the whole field. The man did not want the field but he was realistic enough to realise that in order to get the treasure he had to pay the price for the field – a very high price indeed. It cost him all he had but he did it joyfully because he knew the value of what he was getting in the treasure. This is confirmed in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The ‘whoever’ is the treasure in the field that Jesus died to purchase. Jesus has bought the field but He leaves it to His disciples to recover the treasure. It is up to the Church to find where the treasure is buried, dig it from the earth and clean it up so that the treasure can be admired. The second description of this treasure is the pearl of great value. A pearl in Scripture suggests suffering and it is interesting that all the gateways to the New Jerusalem are made of pearls. This indicates that there is no way into the New Jerusalem except the way of suffering. It is also interesting to note that a pearl is caused by some kind of irritation in the oyster and is really the product of something going wrong. In the process of making a pearl marketable it has to be raised from the depths of the sea, removed from the oyster and undergo various processes. It takes a lot of work to make a pearl marketable. Just as in the case of the treasure in the field, Jesus leaves it to the Church to prepare the pearl and bring out its beauty. Jesus Christ gave all He had for each one of us. If there had been nobody else to be redeemed Jesus would have died just for you. This should give us a sense of self-worth and we should no longer struggle with a sense of unworthiness, inadequacy or rejection. We are worth all that God had and He gave Jesus Christ for each one of us.