Matthew 13 holds many parables that Jesus spoke to the multitudes. His purpose was to draw those to Him who had ears to hear and eyes to see. I was reading Mt 13 recently and two of the parables about the kingdom of heaven jumped out at me. The first is: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” And the second right after that: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it” (verses 44-46). When Jesus repeats something, it’s worth our attention. I have usually heard it taught that Jesus is the treasure and the pearl and that we have to sell all we have and all we are in order to obtain Jesus. That can’t be further from the truth of these parts of Scripture! Allow me to explain…
First of all the field is the world – Jesus explained that in vs 38 just before talking about the treasure. And Jesus was also previously talking about separating the tares from the wheat. So His thoughts are on people – those following Him and those not following Him. There is no way any one person can sell all they have to buy Jesus, if Jesus is meant to be the treasure! Once I realized the nonsense of that way of looking at it, it struck me that “we” are that treasure! Jesus found the treasure. He found those who believed in Him. Interesting that the treasure was hidden in the field – by God Himself. That brought me to Ephesians 1:4 which states, “… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” God chose us to be in Christ. Don’t ask me to explain in full predestination! But suffice to say that the Word says that God chose us to be in Christ before the world was created. God hid us in Christ before Christ came to redeem us. In Ephesians 3 Paul talks about the mystery previously hidden: “…by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…” (Vs 3-6).
That mystery is the church, the new man, the body of Christ! It was in God’s plan since before creation but hidden. So, do you see that the treasure is us – the believer?! The man who found the treasure hid it until the right time when He could redeem it in full. Jesus paid the ultimate price for us – His broken body and blood spilled to pay the ransom for us to be with God for eternity! When Jesus walked on this earth, He was the merchant looking for a pearl and when He found us, He sold all that He had to buy it! And think about a pearl for a moment…it begins as an irritant in the oyster. A grain of sand or dirt or some other tiny thing that gets into its shell. In order to protect itself against the intruder, it keeps covering the piece of sand over and over again until it becomes what we value – a thing of beauty. Isn’t that just like God to take our sinful selves and make something beautiful out of us? He considers us of great value even though we might consider ourselves scum, a piece of sand or dirt.
The lesson here is that God considers us of such value despite our sin, to send His only Son to buy us back out of the slave market of sin. He was willing to give up “everything”, not just some things, but everything, to buy us back! So in fact, we – those who believe Jesus paid for our sins in full and has given us eternal life – we are the kingdom of heaven, we are the treasure, we are the pearl of great value! Knowing that doesn’t make us want to go back into sin but instead give our lives in gratefulness to Him who sold everything to have intimacy with us. Oh, the depth of His love is more than we can take in this side of heaven! Just ponder on how valuable you are to Him.
There is the treasure – a whole lot of people. Then the second story is about just one pearl. Even if there was just one person Jesus would have bought that one person in a sea of many! The Father loved you enough to send Jesus to look for you. He is seeking you out and drawing you to Himself all the time. Just rest and allow the preciousness of who you are to Him sink in. Receive what He died to give you!