The Parable of the Treasure and the Pearl

Let’s take a look today at the parable of the treasure in the field: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44). Can you imagine what this guy’s friends and family must have thought about him as he literally gave up everything to buy an apparently insignificant plot of land? You know, even today, I think we sometimes tend to focus on the magnitude of this man’s sacrifice rather than the reward that he gained. Yet, from the man’s point of view, he wasn’t really sacrificing anything – in his mind, he had just hit the lottery! Notice then, that the Scripture says that he joyfully sold all he had – not that he sorrowfully, agonizingly gave it up. All of his worldly possessions were worthless compared to the immense value of the treasure he was gaining! For myself, I am reminded to check my own attitude. There are times when I feel like I have to begrudgingly give things up in my spiritual walk. Instead, I need to think about the priceless joy and fulfillment that comes in the relationship I have with Jesus Christ. With that relationship as my sole focus, the distractions of this world grow strangely dim.

Jesus deliberately followed this parable up with a second similar one: “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). It’s interesting to note that, while the man with the field was not intentionally searching for treasure, he immediately recognized the value that it holds. ( The merchant, on the other hand, has dedicated his entire life to searching for valuable pearls. We, of course, relate this parable to the value of the kingdom in our lives, but let’s also take time to consider this profound dual application from Christ’s Object Lessons: “The parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls has a double significance: it applies not only to men as seeking the kingdom of heaven, but to Christ as seeking His lost inheritance. Christ, the heavenly merchantman seeking goodly pearls, saw in lost humanity the pearl of price. …Hearts that have been the battleground of the conflict with Satan, and that have been rescued by the power of love, are more precious to the Redeemer than are those who have never fallen.” I love how we can see such a beautiful picture of Jesus and His love for us!

In fact, let’s keep following this trajectory out a little further and consider how pearls are formed in the first place:Unlike other gems, pearls are produced by a living organism, an oyster, as the result of an injury. It usually begins forming around a grain of sand or an egg of some parasite that invaded the oyster. The oyster protects itself by layering the irritant with nacre (mother-of-pearl) until, out of pain and suffering, it forms an object of great beauty.”  ( Wow! That is so interesting! In fact, this point really got me thinking: I was reminded how Colossians tells us that in Christ is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” and furthermore that our very own lives are “hidden in Christ in God” (Colossians 2:3, 3:3). Could we maybe stretch the application of this parable even further and think of Jesus not only as the merchant seeking the treasure (us) but also as the carrier of the pearl itself? The very oyster which, through pain and suffering, transforms a worthless speck of dirt into a flawless, priceless pearl? And then, just think what has to happen to the oyster in order to reveal the pearl? It gets ripped open! It must die to produce the pearl! Can this not also illustrate Christ’s infinite sacrifice for us? I don’t know about you, friends, but I came away from this parable with just that much more of a greater insight into Jesus’ infinite sacrifice and matchless love for us. I hope you did too!


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