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The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like...

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The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like...

By Mike Taylor


[Jesus said,] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46 ).

Many within God’s church read the parables spoken by Jesus in this chapter, which are parables pertaining to the kingdom of God. In this chapter of Matthew, Jesus gave several examples pertaining to the kingdom of God. The prior parable before the title of this message is about a man who finds treasure in a field hidden:

“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” (Matthew 13:44 ).

The traditional view of most believing Christians is that Jesus is speaking of the newly converted Christian, that when he believes in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he or she gives up everything to obtain salvation from the Lord Jesus. Understandably, we do give up much of the life we were living to become new creatures in Christ Jesus. We are commanded to turn away from the evil of this world and follow Him taking up our cross daily. But is that what Jesus was talking about when He was talking about the treasure in the field, or the pearl of great price? Let’s see.

Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

We know that it is not anything that we have done or could ever do that deserves forgiveness of sin. No amount of tithing, church attendance or charity to the poor can rid us of the stain of human sin. Only Jesus can do that.

Titus 3:4-7: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Jesus taught in parables and to a lot of folks, they are hard to understand. Parables are an analogy. They are messages in story form and they illustrate truths drawn from the natural, material world to testify of a spiritual and eternal truth. They can teach eternal truths only because a unity exists between the material and spiritual. If the material world had no similarities with the spiritual, it could not convey truth about the spiritual realities. Remember, a parable suggests side-by-side comparison. An earthly truth is the similitude of a heavenly one. Biblical parables thus show that the external, visible material world is a mirror through which we may understand the internal, invisible spiritual realm.

Many times, the disciples came to Jesus to ask for the interpretation of the meaning of the parable He had just spoken to the people.

Matthew 13:10-13: “And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”

But do we as Christians understand what Jesus was talking about? Only the Holy Spirit can reveal truths to you, not the traditions of men, as traditions can, even in good intentions lead a person to believe in something that is not true. (Like good works can save the sinner) not so, my reader. Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees.

Mark 7:9, 13: “And he said unto them, ‘Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.’ ‘Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.’”

We as Christians must look to the deeper meaning of Jesus was talking about in the parables He spoke of….This is an example of the traditions of men concerning the pearl of great price and not discerning what the Lord was driving at.

Isaiah 64:6-7: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”

Romans 3:11: “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.”

Paul wrote that we are at enmity with God:

Romans 8:7-8: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

We do not search for God. He searches for us….not the other way around.

So how can we buy this “pearl of great price” if we have nothing to purchase it with? Did you purchase your salvation through your many good deeds and charitable giving? Of course, we did not! We have nothing to offer our God that would allow Him to pardon us for sins committed against His Holy Name.

Then who does the merchant represent? Obviously, it can’t be us, as we naturally do not seek God or His kingdom, so how can we purchase something so valuable?

Jesus said in Luke 19:9-10: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

And again in:

John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Have you figured it out yet? Who is this merchant who gave up everything for this “pearl of great price”?

This merchant is seriously and deliberately searching this world to secure the best and costliest gems. It is his livelihood, and he is diligent to travel extensively because he knows his efforts will be rewarded when he finds the best and purchases them. Since Christ is the One who seeks the sinner, noted in Luke 19 and John 6 above, the merchant cannot represent the sinner giving up all he has to follow Jesus Christ. The Shepherd seeks the sheep, not vice-versa.

Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

JESUS IS THE MERCHANT WHO SEEKS THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE!

The use of the word “seeking” quoted in Matthew 13:45 helps identify the merchant as Christ, as it means, “to depart from one place and arrive at another.” Jesus did this Himself to pay the price for the pearl. He departed from heaven and arrived on earth to complete His mission

Philippians 2:6-8: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

And again in 2nd Corinthians 8:9:

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

Jesus our Lord gave up everything. He sold all—to possess us! He emptied Himself of the glory of heaven, His position beside God the Father, and took on the form of a servant, a human like you and me. He was born to die…for you and for me!

John 3:16-18: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Can you understand the depths of God’s love that He would give up the most important thing in all of eternity, His only Son for something so unworthy, so unrighteous, an unclean thing in His sight? How can this be?

Romans 5:6-8: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

It comes down to one complete description of God’s Love…AMAZING GRACE!

When John Newton wrote that beloved hymn, he summed it up of why God came seeking us and why He loved us:

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.I once was lost, but NOW I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

My reader, Jesus paid it all…gave up all came from glory in heaven to pay the price for our redemption. You and I, and all who believe are the Pearl of Great Price. He lived, He died and rose again that you might have eternal life. Not for anything you did, but for His unfathomable love and AMAZING GRACE.

Won’t you accept His free gift? It’s already bought and paid for. All you have to do is say, “Yes, Lord, I believe.” Then internalize this great gift from God by becoming a new creature. Not anything we can do, but what He can in us. Although we are a lost and dying creation, God loved us even when we were His enemies.

Romans 7:6-10: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

You see, we didn't deserve so great a mercy that God would give up everything He possessed (even His life), to redeem a people so unworthy. He came to save all who would follow Him by faith, love and obedience to become His Pearl of Great Price. It was solely for our redemption and according to His unfathomable, matchless love. That love is for you, and for me.




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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

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Re: The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like...

AMEN! That is beautiful. Thank you!