In Matthew 13, known by many as the great chapter of parables, we read of a man in a field, a merchant, and a net that was cast into the sea. In this passage we receive matchless teaching from the Lord concerning His Kingdom. Our text for consideration is verses 44-50. Firstly, Jesus tells of a hidden treasure; a treasure so valuable, in fact, that he buries it again to protect its location and goes, sells all of his property and belongings and purchases the field which contains it. Lessons include the value and importance of the treasure taught in the fact that he buried it again and gave all for it.In a similar way, Jesus continues his teaching with the figure of a pearl of great worth. He illustrates the Kingdom’s value by telling of a merchant who found this particular pearl, and sold all in order to buy it. Lessons for us in this describe the value in a different way: using the merchant aspect of the parable would tell us that the one selling all to buy this pearl was one who understood pearls, their worth and one who had many goods, likely worth a great amount of money. The core lesson in both of these is that the treasure/pearl was much better than anything they had, justifying the selling of all they had for it. Further than this: not only was the treasure/pearl greater in worth to any particular thing they had, but it was greater than everything that possessed, to warrant them selling ALL for it!
Oddly, Jesus follows these parables with a parable about the coming judgment. On the surface it seems out of place, but when you think again, it fits! Jesus teaches those around Him of the day when God will gather all the people of the earth and as a fisherman keeps the good fish and throws away the bad, God will separate for Himself the good from the bad. The way that one is determined good or bad is calculated by the content of their life. If they are as one of the two about whom we read in the two previous parables than we see those who give all for the Kingdom, understanding it’s significance and great value. However, if they are like someone who may think, “this is too good to be true,” or “It’s just another *such and such*,” than they will be like those fish cast aside in the same likeness as those who will be told to depart (cf Matthew 25:31ff).
In summary, these three parables begin with the valuation of treasure and a pearl. What determines value? In simple economic theory valuation is determined by the price one is will to pay for a certain thing or service. God determined the wondrous value of the Kingdom when He sent Jesus to Earth to take upon Himself the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death even the death of the cross (Php. 2:5ff). In a similar way, He has put a great price upon us. Paul was inspired to write these words in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” What price was this? The same price with which He purchased the church, His blood (Acts 20:28).
Let us strive to see the REAL value in this life. We ought not place high valuations upon temporary, carnal and corruptible things we have in the physical world, but invest our time, energy and money into things spiritual. God bless those who give all to Him, buy the truth and sell it not (Pro.23:23)!