Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Pearl of Great Price

From the New King James version:

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 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 
46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

These are two parables that follow the parables of the Sower,  the Wheat and Tares, the Mustard Seed and the Leaven.
They are followed by the Dragnet

These last parables are obviously related to the Kingdom of Heaven.
We can assume that the Treasure and Pearl parables also are.

What is the Kingdom of Heaven?
It is the Church, the band of humans who God rules.
Kingdom citizenship.
This is important to grasp.

It is often said that the Pearl and the Treasure are metaphors for the salvation experience, the Gospel, getting right with God, Christ.
That when you find the hidden secret of Salvation, you sell everything to get it.
And you don't tell anyone else so they don't get it first.

That sounds kind of weird, doesn't it?

You cannot sell all you have and buy heaven or entry into it.
You might do that as a result of gaining the free gift of salvation, but that free gift is trumpeted loudly, it is not hidden.

So what then is the Pearl, or the Treasure?

Jesus had previously been discussing the construction of the Kingdom:
The invitation (Sower)
Some will reject, some will join and leave, and some will join and grow.
The composition and growth (Wheat and Tares, Mustard Seed, Leaven)
The citizens (wheat) will dwell among others and their numbers grow.
The leaven either refers to growth or sinners among the saved.
The birds in the tree are often thought to be sinners among the saved also.
The gathering (The Dragnet)
Sinners and saints have been occupying the same territory and are separated at the end, similar to the Wheat and Tares.

The Wheat is hidden among the Tares, the Treasure is hidden in a field, the Pearl in the market, the Good (and bad) in the sea.

Now we come to the purchase (Pearl and Treasure)
So Who purchased the Kingdom?
When you phrase it like that, it almost becomes obvious.
The sinner doesn't purchase Christ.
The Pearl is not Christ.

The Pearl is the Church. The Treasure is the Church.
Who purchased the Church?
Who gave all He had to purchase it?
"and buys that field."
He redeemed the earth to get the Treasure.

Think about that.
Jesus gave everything He had to purchase a Pearl of Great Price.
A Treasure.
"For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross."

The Guy telling the story, the One who is evaluating the purchase, is Jesus.
He sees our potential, something He wants.
He sees something in us we don't see, yet "through a glass darkly".
But we know that "we shall be like him".
I didn't write that, God did.

Me? I want to live up to that. I want to make the cut, I want to live for Him.
After all, He died for me.

What about you? Are you worth it?