The Parables of Jesus Series | Parable of the Pearl Merchant
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! Matthew 13:45-46
I was very tempted to skip this parable or to combine it with the previous parable because at a glance, they both looked like the same. However, I reminded myself that the Holy Spirit does not waste words, time, and space. So if He prompted the writers to add this to the scriptures, then there is a lesson there. And certainly there is! And both parables are not the same.
To begin with, the parable starts with the word “Again.” Most translations uses the word “again and also.” This re-emphasizes the fact that Jesus was giving all of these parables to drive home a message. At the heart of this parable is the kingdom of God. And like I mentioned in previous posts, it is very important that we understand the key message in every parable and ensure that we put the message at the forefront to help us interpret them well.
In contrast to the previous parable, Jesus is now displaying another aspect of the kingdom. In this parable, the kingdom of heaven is not the precious pearl, but the merchant. This is clearly shown in the transaction – where the kingdom pays the ultimate price to possess the pearl.
But why is a pearl used as an illustration? A pearl is formed in response to pain. An irritating substance gets into the shell of the oyster and with the oyster having no hand to remove this annoying substance, it transforms that substance into something that no longer irritates her. Pearls are formed inside the shell of an oyster.
The disciples knew how precious pearls were. In that time, merchants often came to buy pearls at expensive amount for their king.
This is the picture of God and the church. God is the merchant, Jesus is the price that was paid for the pearl, the pearl is the church. You’ve got to love something for you to pay an expensive price for it. There is nothing else that was worth God giving up His only begotten son for. The cross is a receipt of that price. Jesus gave up everything! Philippians 2:7 says “…he gave up his divine privileges.” He gave up His comfort, His crown, His wealth, everything, so He could purchase that treasure. Wow!
Now I am going to digress a little bit from this parable and just zoom in into the treasure itself. The oyster does not understand the value of what it produces out of pain. Neither does the pearl itself even recognize that it is valuable. Before Christ, we didn’t know our worth. Despite being in Christ, some believers still don’t know the value of who they are.
Oh may our eyes will be opened so we can see ourselves just as He sees us!
Oh that our understanding will be enlightened to know the cost of the cross!
Oh that our hearts will be receptive to the truth that He loved and placed a high value on us even when we were still in the pit!
Oh that we may know the love of Abba and what it cost Him to save us!
Oh that we may know that there is nothing else He could have done that He hasn’t done.
Oh that we may know! Because when we do, our response will be worship!
–Efua Uke is a United Kingdom-based mentor, blogger, and contributor to Ambo TV. This article originally appeared on her website Grace Over Pain.