It is a known fact that people connect with stories more than other forms of speech. Stories help people relate to what is being said. This does cause a problem at times, because stories can have different interpretations. Jesus’ stories are not an exception. This is why we must look at the parables through the lens of the rest of the Bible and attempt to understand them through the ears of the original people.
This helps us to not interpret the story through our point of view and miss what Jesus is trying to say.
This parable is from Matthew 13:44-46
44 “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.45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
These parables are known as The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl. They are both very short and generally have the same meaning, because of this they are often studied together.
I believe there are two main things we can learn from this these short parables.
Before we get into those it is important to understand some of the background of the parables. A lot of the parables Jesus taught we in response to a question. But these parables Jesus was not telling them to the crowds, but only to His disciples and not in a response to a question. He wanted to give more insight to His disciples and we have the opportunity to learn from them too. Before we get into the two main morals it is important to understand Jesus is making the connection that the treasure and the pearl are salvation/Heaven. The current church is part of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not Heaven. We are living in the “already, not yet” time of the Kingdom of Heaven. Parts of the Kingdom have come and are already present in our lives, but there is more that is still coming. Jesus is the groom and the church is His bride. That marriage has not happened yet, but the Holy Spirit has already come into our lives. This is why it is “already, not yet.” Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit has already happened, but we have not yet experienced Jesus’ return for His bride. This is the context of these parables; the kingdom of Heaven is “already and not yet” here.
1. Everyone Is Searching
In each parable we find a main character that finds something of great value. The first Parable describes a man who happened upon a treasure. This man may not have been looking for the treasure intentionally. But we find that as soon as he found it he “hid it again” and went away to sell everything he had in order to buy the field. This man recognized something so important that he needed to hide it again before he walked away. When we find something that we know has great value we do not simply leave it unattended. This man knew that he must not leave it where he found it, but hid it again.
Isn’t this what we do at a store too. When we find something in the right size color or that item in one of those stores that get discounted items. If we can’t buy it right away we take time to hide the item in hopes that no one else will buy it in our absence.
This man did not want to lose what he had found so he hid it again.
The second parable is about a merchant who was intentionally looking for something (fine pearls). The idea of this man would have been someone who would have known what he was looking for, but had spent time searching. He would have looked and looked, but “when he found one of great value” it changed his life. This man, too, had to sell everything in order to possess the ONE he had truly been looking for.
Each of these men found something of great value. We know the meaning is that these two men found salvation. These two men had different experiences in the process of finding, but it is clear there is a searching intentionally or unintentionally. When it comes to people around us they may or may not know they are searching, but we (as Christians) must help them recognize the great value of Christ when we find Him.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Jesus had two Real interactions with people during His ministry on Earth that give us another idea of how it looks to follow Him or “find the treasure” or “pearl.”
The first is from Matthew 4:18-22
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peterand his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
This is a common passage about Jesus calling the first four disciples. They were men who worked for a living. The first two brothers Andrew and Peter were in the middle of fishing. It was all they had. Without catching the fish and selling it they would have nothing. Men like them would not have had a savings account to fall back on. Dave Ramsey would have been upset. They lived day to day and if they didn’t work throughout the night they would not have anything or any way to make money the next day.
The other two brothers may have been a little better off. They were preparing or cleaning their nets with their father. This either could be because they were younger or that they had a more prosperous business working with their father. However, they like Andrew and Peter would have needed to fish in order to keep the family provided for.
Then Jesus walked onto the scene and Andrew and Peter, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” and James and John “immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
They did not hesitate to follow even though they were not necessarily searching for something. They left what they were doing and their entire livelihood because they had found a treasure in Jesus!
The next example from Jesus’ ministry is in Matthew 19:16-22
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”18 “Which ones?” he inquired.Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor,and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
In this example, a man came to Jesus seeking answers and truth. Just like the merchant who was searching. This man knew there had to be more than what he had. Jesus asked him if he had followed a few of the 10 commandments. The man answered that he had kept them, but still must have felt there was more he was missing.
Just like the merchant, who knew there had to be something better than what he already had and kept searching; this man was searching.
However, this man missed the great treasure because when he found the “pearl of great value” he wasn’t able to recognize its worth.
In the parable each man, recognized the value or worth of the treasure they found. Just like Andrew, Peter, James, and John they were able to see the value in Jesus’ words or His worth for their lives.
This leads to the next moral of this parable!
2. It Is Worth Everything!
The men in the parable found something of great value and believed it was worth everything they had to possess it!
The first man…“Sold all he had and bought that field.” Not only did he sell all he had, but he did it with JOY! It was not something he was hesitant about. When we find salvation through Christ Jesus there is a great joy in following Him.
The disciples, “At once” and “Immediately” left everything to follow Jesus! This is how we should be in our lives. The example of the first man in the parable and the disciples is what we should do in our lives.
With Joy leave EVERYTHING to follow Jesus, at ONCE!
The example of the merchant, helps us understand the millions of people around the world or on our streets who are searching for something of great and real value. This man already had pearls of value, but he knew there must be more! This is why when he found the pearl of real great value he “sold everything he had and bought it.” He sold everything or left everything else he had his faith in to buy this one pearl!
Just like the rich man who asked Jesus about the kingdom of Heaven. There are millions of people who have fallen into the lies of religions, materialism, or naturalism. However, many of them are looking for answers and are open to finding something with great value!
But just like the rich man, who “went away sad, because he had great wealth.” We must help the world recognize the worth of Jesus Christ. The great wealth of the earth is not worth our lives or the lives of those around us.
Jesus is the ONE pearl or pearl of great value who we need in our lives. A synonym of Value is Worth.
Jesus is of great worth to us and that is why we WORship or WORTHship Him; because He is worthy or worth our praise, honor, and love.
Lastly, I believe this is why Jesus didn’t stop when He called the disciples at “Follow Me”, but He continued, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” When we find salvation we should share with Him with the world. Part of our worship to God is through being sent out to “fish for people“. Don’t let the Joy you have found in Salvation be lost in you, but share it with the world.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Jesus doesn’t just want followers; He wants fishers of people!
The moral of the Story is everyone is searching and it is worth everything!
Is there something in your life that has more value or worth than God?
In prayer read
1 Peter 5:6-10
Are you willing to give everything for the great treasure and help others find the pearl of great/true worth?