Both parables – Treasure and the Pearl – teach us the incomparable value of the kingdom. The treasure in the field is Christ the Son of man, but he’s hidden in his kingdom, the field. The pearl of great value is Christ the Son of man, but he is hidden within the oyster, deep, or in the possession of someone somewhere. Jesus is likening what a person does to acquire the most precious thing possible – the kingdom and Christ within.
PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM
By Pastor Delbert Young
The Treasure and the Pearl
The Treasure And The Pearl
Scriptures: Matthew 13:44-46, Matthew 25:18, Matthew 7:6, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Matthew 7:14, Matthew 8:11-12, Matthew 13:44, Romans 14:17, Matthew 19:21, 23-24, Luke 9:57-61, Matthew 6:33
We will look at two KINGDOM PARABLES today. They have similar meanings and we can incorporate them in one lesson.
Matthew 13:44 “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.
Matthew 13:45-46 “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.
We want to look at the INCOMPARABLE VALUE of the kingdom. When we talk about the kingdom we are talking about the real/true gospel – good news – of Jesus Christ. What is the more valuable than the blood of Christ which will wash the deepest stain, cleaning the foulest heart of sin and giving us the ability to have a TRUE relationship with God? How valuable is the true presence and power of God the Holy Spirit in our lives. How valuable is this? What is more truly valuable than the peace God gives to calm the worst storms of life? What is more truly valuable than eternity in the presence of God and avoiding the torments of hell? What makes us more truly rich than the kingdom? What can truly compare with the value of the kingdom? Jesus tells us there is nothing in the universe comparable to the truly INCOMPARABLE VALUE of the kingdom of heaven.
We are learning about the kingdom, but how do we acquire the kingdom? Are we simply “born into” the kingdom like a Jew was born into the covenant people? Because mom and dad were in the kingdom, do I automatically get in?
Matthew 13:44 “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.
This scenario is a little foreign to us, but common to the time of the people. We usually place our extra money in bank savings, or into stocks, or some investment such as real estate. In those days, though it should be invested to gain, it was common to bury treasure in the earth. The area was a constant place of war and violence. When robbers or a plundering army came, they would take what they could find in the houses, so the answer for many was to hide their treasure in the earth in a place only they knew. Jesus told a kingdom parable about this in Matthew 25. He said,
Matthew 25:18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Hiding valuable items in the ground was common to those people.
Jesus tells this parable about a man finding a treasure in a field. Someone had hidden their treasure. The finder hid it again. (Interestingly, Jesus didn’t say he put it back in the same place.) With great excitement and joy, went and sold all he had and bought that field in order to gain the treasure. Obviously, the treasure was worth much more than anything he owned or he would be required to pay for the field. He sold out for the treasure and the field.
The law said if a man found something like this, it belonged to the finder. Obviously, the treasure did not belong to the owner of the field. Had it, he would not have sold the field, or first removed the treasure before selling. Perhaps a previous owner hid the treasure, died in battle, or accidentally, with no one knowing the location of the treasure. According to the law of their time, the owner had no claim on the treasure. According to the law, the treasure belonged to the finder. However, rather than simply taking the treasure, which he would do if dishonest, he hid it again. He then went and liquidated everything he owned to acquire money so he could purchase the field. When I saw this, I saw more than the kingdom is only like the treasure. The person wanted the treasure, but also purchased the field.
The primary point of the parable is a person found something INCOMPARABLY VALUABLE; more valuable than anything he possessed, and totally sold out to get it. He was so overjoyed and ecstatic he was willing to totally change his life so he could have not only the treasure but also the field where the treasure was hidden.
Matthew 13:45-46 “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.
This person was in the pearl business. He is a merchant going around looking for pearls to resale. Pearls were the most valuable gem in the world at their time. The Egyptians worshiped pearls. Also, the status a pearl represented stated the person was successful and powerful. Roman emperors adorned themselves, their wives, and their children with pearls. If a person had pearls, they had a fortune. Jesus said,
Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
The emphasis is, don’t give the most valuable thing you possess to pigs who have no idea how valuable it is.
The gates to the city in Revelation 21:21 are gates of pearl.
People would go to great lengths to dive for pearls. You’ve most likely seen movies where people go out in small boats, attached weights to their bodies to take them deep enough, fast enough to get pearls. Once down, they would untie the weights, try to find the oysters holding the pearls, and get back to the surface before they died. A perfect pearl was extremely expensive not only because of its beauty and status symbol, but because of what was required to acquire it.
This person made pearls his business. He knew everything there was to know about pearls and he found one of great value. This was an amazing pearl. This was an extremely expensive pearl, so he went and sold everything he had and bought it. He sold out for the pearl.
Let’s look at six principles of these two parables.
- THE KINGDOM IS INCOMPARABLE IN VALUE.Both parables teach us the incomparable value of the kingdom. The treasure in the field is Christ the Son of man, but he’s hidden in his kingdom, the field. The pearl of great value is Christ the Son of man, but he is hidden within the oyster, deep, or in the possession of someone somewhere. Jesus is likening what a person does to acquire the most precious thing possible – the kingdom and Christ within. Only a FOOL is not willing to sale everything to gain it. ONLY A PERSON SELLING OUT WILL GAIN IT. Of all the fields in the world with treasures in them, of all the pearls in the world of great value, only one is worth staking everything I possess upon and I did. How about you? How many people truly do?
- THE KINGDOM IS NOT EASILY VISIBLE. The treasure was hidden and must be found. The pearl was hidden and must be found. Neither was lying around easily spotted. The value of the kingdom is not easily seen by people. It’s there, but they can’t see it. The world and even religious people don’t understand those so radical to sell out. Neither do they see the NEED to sell out. They ask, “Why do I ‘need’ to do this?” The answer, so you can acquire the kingdom and the Christ within.
1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The kingdom makes no sense to them. They can’t see it. Every week I present the treasure in the field and the pearl. I dig up the treasure. I dive deep and bring up the pearl. However, every week people walk out never seeing and acquiring the most valuable thing they could every find.
Matthew 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and ONLY A FEW FIND IT.
Have you found it? Only a few do. There must be desire to pursue. Then there must be a desire to sell out. Some find, but will not pay the price to acquire it. Have you?
- THE KINGDOM IS PERSONALLY APPROPRIATED. In both parables the finders individually appropriate the valuable to their own self. Because a person goes to church does not mean they have appropriated the kingdom. In fact, there are people who come to church who are not Christians. The legalistic religious leaders thought they were in the kingdom because they were Jews and children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but Jesus said…
Matthew 8:11-12 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Because they were Jews, i.e. children of the kingdom, they were actually tares who were bundled and burned in the torment of hell. Because mom and dad are Christians doesn’t mean you are. You must personally find Jesus hidden in his kingdom. Have you?
- THE KINGDOM IS THE SOURCE OF JOY.
Matthew 13:44 “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.
It’s not done grudgingly or under compulsion. I give, pray, read – sell out – with joy. A basic desire of every human being is to be happy. A person will never be truly happy until they find the field and the hidden treasure, which is Christ.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Joy is in finding the treasure of the kingdom and Jesus Christ. Christians and those in the kingdom should be the most joyful of all people. How happy are you with life?
- THE KINGDOM IS ENTERED FROM DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES. In the parables, one found the valuable item accidentally and the other knows exactly what he is looking for. The man who found the treasure was doing what he did in life and stumbled across a treasure. People enter the kingdom like this. The apostle Paul was this way. He wasn’t seeking the kingdom. He thought he was already in it. He was plowing his field arresting Christians when he found the treasure. The Samaritan woman came to the well for water – just plowing her field, but found a fortune. The man born blind was sitting begging for alms, but went away redeemed and seeing. There are people who go to church because someone will not stop inviting them and they find their treasure. Sometimes people attend church simply because it is the “right” thing to do, but end up finding their treasure. You better be careful.
Then there is the man looking for the pearl. He knew what he was looking for. He wasn’t seeking the normal pearl – mildly religious, casual relationship with Jesus, attend church on Sunday deal. He wanted the real thing. It reminds me of me. I wanted to know about it. I was reading the Bible before I went to church. I was asking questions of people who were supposed to know, but I found most didn’t know. It’s like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 reading scriptures then asking Philip what does this mean. It’s like Cornelius in Acts 10 asking Peter to come to his house. It’s like those in Berea who searched the scriptures daily to see if those things were so. They search for what is truly valuable.
There are those who come into the kingdom seemingly by accident, but God had it planned. There are those who search it out. Which were you? Which are you? Are you here today seemingly by accident, or are you diligently searching for something truly valuable?
- THE KINGDOM IS MADE PERSONAL BY A TRANSACTION. In both parables, the item valued was personally purchased. I’m not saying you can “buy” your salvation or the kingdom. One day Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler asking what he needed to do to be saved.
Matthew 19:21 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.”
We can’t truly follow until we sell out. The man, like most, refused to sell out and went away.
Matthew 19:23-24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the KINGDOM OF GOD.”
It’s extremely difficult for a person to sell out. There is always a personal transaction to enter the kingdom and acquire the treasure. It’s personal and different for each person. Jesus showed us this in Luke 9.
Luke 9:57-58 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Jesus knew this guy needed to give up his comfort and possessions. You can’t be a true follower of Jesus if you are concerned more about your comfort and possessions than following Christ. No deal. No transaction. Another came…
Luke 9:59-60 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, FIRST let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”
We are to proclaim the kingdom of God. This man’s father wasn’t dead yet. Actually, he was hanging around waiting for his inheritance. You can’t proclaim the kingdom if you are waiting for what people will give you. No deal. No transaction. Still another…
Luke 9:61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but FIRST let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for SERVICE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”
You can’t plow a straight furrow looking back at family. Family is important, but the kingdom must be sought first. You don’t buy the kingdom with money, but there must be a personal transaction indicative of purchasing which says nothing – not personal comfort, not possessions, not wealth, not inheritance, not family – stands between you and the kingdom.
Matthew 6:33 But SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Nothing can come before the kingdom. If nothing does, all will be given to you as well.
The kingdom of Heaven is of INCOMPARABLE VALUE. You can think you gain everything else, but lose your own soul to hell if you do not find the kingdom and Jesus Christ within. It must be sought first. It requires a selling out, not so you won’t have, but so you can have life and that abundantly. You are here today and have either stumbled across a treasure, or purposefully searched for a pearl. Locating it is not the question. You know where and who it is. Your question, your challenge is will you sell out? Being as honest as I can be, most people have not. There are other things you are seeking first. Allow me to warn you. You are literally playing with fire – the eternal fire of hell. Jesus is asking each of us, as he did the rich young ruler, to sell out and make the personal transaction.
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