Summary: Examining and applying the two parables of Matthew 13:44-46
Treasures and Traders
Text: Matthew 13:44-46
By: Ken McKinley
In this passage, Jesus is teaching us about the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew is the only one who uses the phrase, “kingdom of heaven,” the other gospels us the phrase, “kingdom of God.” Basically there is no difference in meaning between the two; it was just the preference of the author.
But what exactly is the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God? Well we get the word kingdom from the word dominion, or domain. So these phrases are referring to God’s dominion in Christ, or we could say; God’s rule and reign and will in Christ Jesus. Now God’s rule, reign and will is eternal. It covers the entire creation and all the nations and powers and authorities within creation. But the thing is that this rule and reign and will is recognized only by God’s people and it’s contested by unbelievers and the powers of darkness. There will come a day however, when every knee will bow and ever tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So in a sense, we can say that the kingdom of heaven is future. But in another way we can say it is a present reality in the lives of believers. I guess we could say it this way, the rule and reign of God is a present reality that will be fully realized and recognized when Jesus returns.
And so Matthew begins this passage by relating two parables of Jesus that tell us something about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”
Now let’s look at out text again and listen closely as I read it to you (Read text). Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that was hidden in a field in the first parable. What does He say the kingdom of heaven is like in the second? If you said pearl of great price, you’re mistaken. Don’t feel bad because for years that’s what I thought He said as well. A lot of Bibles even have that as a title above the parable. “THE PARABLE OF THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE!”
But that’s not what Jesus said, in-fact that’s why I’m preaching on this tonight, because I noticed something for the first time reading this passage. Jesus said in the second parable that the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls; not the pearl itself.
Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure and traders. Not
T-R-A-I-T-O-R-S, not people who betray their king or kingdom, traders, T-R-A-D-E-R-S.
In those days, pearls were one of the rarest and most precious of all gems. 2000 years ago they didn’t have oyster farms, they didn’t have scuba gear. So pearls were very rare and very valuable. I once read that Cleopatra owned a pearl that would be valued at over 12 million dollars today; and that’s the kind of pearls this merchant was looking for, high quality pearls, flawless pearls.
Well the man in the parable doesn’t find pearls (plural), he finds A PEARL, “one of great value.” In other words it was one of those flawless, high quality pearls. It was so valuable that he sold everything he had in order to buy it.