Discovering God’s Love in the Parable of the Pearl
The Hidden love behind the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price and Hidden Treasure
When I was growing up, on Sundays I heard the parables of the Pearl of Great Price and Hidden Treasure many times. I always struggled with the conclusion that many of the preachers/teachers seemed to have come to and there was something within that didn’t quite believe it.
They seem to always teach that the Pearl of Great Price and the Hidden Treasure, was the Kingdom of God and that we were the merchant and we were to sell everything that we have, give up our lives for that kingdom. For us to be good Christians, we had to become less of us and give our 150% to God. After all, it was all about what we could do for Jesus, as we certainly owe him a big debt.
I didn’t question it too much after all. It is a very common theology within the church, even within the Bible Colleges.
That all changed when I came across some Messianic rabbis setting about to share their Jewish culture and pointing out some flaws of the Western world Biblical interpretations of the parables of the Pearl of Great Price and the Hidden Treasure.
Matthew 13 44-45 The Parable of the Hidden Treasure:
44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
45, 46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.(ESV)
Rather simple parables on the surface, but if you dig deeper, you will see how powerful these parables are.
Before we understand the parable, it is best to understand who or what is the treasure, according to Jesus and the people he were talking to, at the time of the conversation, the Jews and Gentiles.
Believe it or not, biblically, the treasure Jesus was speaking about in this verse was not Heaven nor the kingdom, but the Jews, the children of Abraham. If you scroll through the Old Covenant, you will find that on a number of occasions the Jews were called God’s treasure.
So if the Treasure referred to the Jews, a people group, who was/were the pearl and who was the Merchant?
Well, the pearl was an unclean item to the Jews, so it could not have been the Jews. In Leviticus, it describes in verses 10-12 that “Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.”
That meant that clams, and the pearls that came from them, were not just unclean but detestable. This makes this verse very interesting to the people Jesus was talking to, because, according to the Merchant, The Pearl was of great value.
Where Jesus was at this time, he was speaking by the sea of Galilee, where there was a port where the Jews sold many pearls to the Gentiles, and at that time, the Gentiles were seen as unclean and detestable because they didn’t follow all the Jewish laws, let alone acknowledge that there is only one God. So anyone at the time knew Jesus was referring to the Gentiles as the Pearl.
So who was the merchant in the story? You most probably have guessed it, and we are lucky, as in the previous parables, Jesus was talking about a sower and some seed, and he also gave a break down and in that parable. He explains in Mat 13:37 … “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man”, as we know the Son of Man is Jesus, straight after he explains that, he describes a man and a merchant, who is both Jesus who is God.
So let’s put this together…
Matthew 13 44-45 The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure(Jews) hidden in a field, which a man(Jesus) found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (world).
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant(Jesus) seeking beautiful pearls(Gentiles you and I), 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
The Kingdom of God is not about what you can do for God but rather its about what God has done for you and how much He loves you. He loves you so much that he bankrupted heaven so he could have a relationship with you!
Grace and love!