In our last parable, I suggested that a short parable is an easy parable. That may have been a bit foolish, since quantity does not necessarily imply quality.
These two tiny parables (Hidden Treasure and Valuable Pearl), although seemingly similar, have important distinctions that are instructive.
Lets take a second to read our parable today.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Questions to Consider
Who were the audience?
No longer is Jesus teaching the masses, the crowds. Starting with our previous parable, the audience shifts to the disciples only. See Matthew 13:36. Now we have a group of folk that are allowed to “get it”. If you consider yourself to be one who “get’s it”, note that there will be a test coming up. (See Matthew 13:51)
When did the Lord give this parable?
Matthew gives me the impression that this day was a very busy day of teaching for the Lord. See Parable Surprises – The Sower of the Seed
Where did the Lord teach the parable?
The Lord entered “the” house. It is assumed He stayed in the local area and entered a house of a disciple. See Parable Surprises – The Sower of the Seed, for the geographical location if interested
Why did the Lord give this message?
At first blush, this parable and the previous one seems to be identical. But for the estimation of the value of the treasure/great pearl, there are a few items that make this parable a bit different.
With this parable, the “man” is a merchant. A bit more specific. The subject is skilled in the estimation of value and has made a living out of successfully trading items and producing profit.
With this parable, the merchant is searching for treasure. The man in the earlier parable appears to find the treasure without intent, simply “tripping” over the treasure, but he makes every effort to secure the treasure legally. The merchant finds the pearl of great value in the possession of another, and, like the man in the previous parable, sells all that he has in order to secure the treasure.
In the previous parable, the kingdom of heaven was likened to the treasure. In this parable, the kingdom of heaven is likened to the merchant.
This is the big one, the major difference that adds a layer of truth that needs to be considered.
What was the message for the original audience?
The kingdom of heaven is on the hunt. During the days of the Lord’s pilgrimage on enemy turf, He taught us that the kingdom of heaven was in search of fine pearls. For millennium, the kingdom of heaven has been on the search for pearls.
Although nothing in the New or Old Testament gives a direct connection with the Old Testament saints, I would like to suggest that the fine pearls may represent Old Testament saints like Abraham, Isaiah, and Daniel. Men and women that sought to honor God’s name and His loving mercy in their lives. Men and women within the remnant of Israel, hanging on to His promises and living for His glory and honor.
Until One Man came along that completely overshadowed every previous pearl. When this Man came on the scene, the Kingdom of God quit hunting, and realized that all effort could be ceased, for all the potential and realization of the Kingdom could and would be centered on this Man.
He is the Pearl of Great Price. And all that encompasses the kingdom of heaven is found in Him, and not another.
What is the message for us today?
The kingdom of heaven sold all that “it” had in order to pin “its’ hopes on the One who was the Pearl of Great Price. He is the only worthy One and has shown His great worth in the expression of His self sacrificial love not only for those who sought Him but also for those who fought Him, who spit on Him and eventually betrayed Him and crucified Him.
Where are we on the spectrum of self sacrificial love to those we rub shoulders with. Self analysis may be healthy, but staring at the Pearl of Great Price, considering His character and life, His heart is what will transform us.
2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Take time to stare.
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