3. "The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl"

Matthew 13:44–46

The kingdom of God is the treasureTiny mustard seeds ready for growth

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.
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.
These mini-parables are obviously similar. Jesus employs Hebrew parallelism to emphasize his point. In both stories, a man finds something small or hidden — but of great value. The main point of these two mini-parables is the contrast between the smallness/hiddenness of the object and its actual value.

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The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

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The Parables of the Hidden Treasure

and the Pearl of Great Value

Matthew 13:44–46

What do these parables illustrate about God's kingdom?

It depends on the identification of the treasure and the pearl. Some think the treasure and pearl refer to believers, and the man and dealer refer to Jesus. The point, then, is that Jesus loves and values us so much that he was willing to pay the ultimate price (his death on the cross) to “purchase” us for himself. This is true (see 1 Peter 1:18-19) and wonderful beyond hope — but it's probably not the point of these parables. In view of the other parables in this chapter that consistently identify the small, hidden object as Jesus, the Gospel, God's kingdom, etc., we should do so here as well. If we understand the treasure and pearl to refer to God's kingdom, then the man and dealer obviously refer to people who find God's kingdom in this age.
Application: As we turn from interpretation to application, three important questions that unpack and apply these parables need to be asked — each of which are answered by Apostle Paul. How do you answer each?
• Why do some people recognize the value of God's kingdom, while others do not? (1 Timothy 2:3–4) [Click to open, then close, each link to Scripture.] This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
• What happens to your view of your other “treasures” when you discover the value of God's kingdom? (Philippians 3:4–9). . . though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumsized on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surprising greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

• How do you say “Thank you” to God for this precious gift? (Romans 12:1–2)Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

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