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Matthew 13:44-46


44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

After telling the parable of the leaven, Jesus sent the crowds away. Then, His disciples came to Him seeking an explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares. He not only explained the parable, but taught them four more.

The first two, which we will be examining today, were designed to teach the disciples about the value of the kingdom of heaven and the cost of being a part of it.

The kingdom of heaven is like a valuable treasure and like a precious pearl. Both of these analogies appeal to our natural covetousness. Who hasn't dreamed of finding a lost treasure and being able to buy anything they want? Most have probably thought about doing something just a little unethical to get what they wanted. We can all relate to the men in these two parables.

The man who found the treasure doesn't appear to have been looking for it, but seems to have discovered it purely by accident. We are not told why he did not simply take the treasure nor why he did not try to locate the owner, but what he did was unethical. Jesus was not condoning his actions, but was merely telling a story that illustrated the lesson He wanted His disciples to learn.

We must also notice that the man was overjoyed by his discovery. This is very important to Jesus' main point, because it is the very joy of finding the treasure that elicits the response from this man. It was what made the treasure worth everything else that the man owned.

The second parable parallels the first, except for the fact that the second man was seeking valuable pearls. The "pearl of great price" is better translated as "very precious pearl". Pearls were considered to be very valuable and were desired more than gold in those days, but the Greek word that is used for "precious" is only used in two other places in the New Testament: first in John 12:3 in reference to the ointment that Mary used to anoint Jesus' feet, and again in 1 Peter 1:7 in reference to the faith of the saints. The emphasis is on the extraordinary value of the pearl, which was much more than this man had dreamed of finding.

Like the treasure and the pearl, the kingdom is not evident to men. Though it is here among us, some have to search very hard to find it, and others may stumble upon it accidentally. When we discover the kingdom of heaven through the gospel, however, God fills our hearts with such great joy that we are ready to sacrifice everything for it.

Those who find the kingdom are not only willing to give everything they have, even their lives, for it, but would do so with joy. When we look at the modern church, however, there are very few of those people. The majority of members are not willing to sacrifice a few extra hours to do the Lord's work each week. Our churches continue having to work around the worldly desires and schedules of men, instead of working by the plan of God.

I often wonder whether it is our fault that men do not cherish the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps we go too far in our evangelistic efforts to make the gospel message entertaining, or maybe we are not teaching the true meaning of conversion. How many think that, just because they walked the aisle of the church to request baptism, they are saved; or that learning their catechism and becoming members of the church has earned them the right to enter the kingdom of heaven? Have we devalued the precious pearl?

Before The Throne:

Let's pray that God's joy would fill each of us till our cup overflows. Pray that the church would be filled with people who so love what they have found that no sacrifice would be too great for it. Ask God to show us how to get the message across to this postmodern society that the kingdom of God is more precious than all the gold and precious pearls on earth. Pray for evangelistic victory.

For Further Study:

** like. Matt 6:21; Prov 2:2-5; Prov 16:16; Prov 17:16; Prov 18:1; John 6:35; Rom 15:4; 1Cor 2:9-10; Col 2:3; Col 3:3-4, 16; ** for joy. Matt 19:21, 27, 29; Luke 14:33; Luke 18:23; Luke 18:24; Luke 19:6-8; Acts 2:44-47; Acts 4:32-35; Phil 3:7-9; Heb 10:34; Heb 11:24-26; ** buyeth. Prov 23:23; Isa 55:1; Rev 3:18;

** like. Matt 16:26; Matt 22:5; Prov 3:13-18; Prov 8:10-11, 8:18-20; ** seeking. Job 28:18; Ps 4:6-7; Ps 39:6-7; Eccl 2:2-12; Eccl 12:8, 13;

** one. Prov 2:4; Isa 33:6; 1Cor 3:21-23; Eph 3:8; Col 2:3; 1John 5:11-12; Re 21:21; ** went. Mark 10:28-31; Luke 18:28-30; Acts 20:24; Gal 6:14;


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