The Treasure and the Pearl

31 January 2021 AM – Matthew 13:44-46 – Parables21 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Read text. Good commentators are divided on the interpretation of these two parables. Warren Wiersbe explains, “The common interpretation of this parable is that the sinner finds Christ and gives up all that he possesses to gain Him and be saved. But this interpretation presents several problems. To begin with, Jesus Christ is not a hidden treasure. He is perhaps the best-known Person of history. In the second place, the sinner cannot ‘find Christ’ for he is blind and stubborn (Ro 3:10). It is the Saviour who finds the lost sinner (Lu 19:10). And no sinner could ever purchase salvation! Please note that the man in the parable did not purchase the treasure; he purchased the whole field. ‘The field is the world’ (Mt 13:38). Must the lost sinner purchase the world to gain Christ?” The Bible Exposition Commentary, 1:46 Good Bible scholars hold both views. Either may be correct. However, Wiersbe’s argument (as well as Lockyer, KJBC, Guzik, Morgan, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary) is strong and we will follow that.
Transition: We will break down these parables as we have the others in order to find practical application for us today.
  1. The Hidden Treasure
a.         The true-to-life story
1)         Jesus spoke of a farmer who, while working a rented field, found a hidden treasure.
2)         In those days, before there were banks for the safe keeping of treasures, men would bury their savings in secret places. If the owner died without telling anyone where he hid his treasure, it would be lost, sometimes for centuries.
3)         In Jesus’ story, a man found such a treasure and resolved to sell all that he had to buy that field containing the hidden treasure.
4)         This was very true to life. The disciples, all familiar with farming, had possibly heard stories told of farmers finding buried treasures in their fields. Boys love to hide their “treasures” in secret locations. My brother and I often did that in our play.
b.         The terms Jesus used
1)         We have already identified the kingdom of heaven as Christ reigning in the lives of believers during the Church Age.
2)         I believe the hidden treasure best represents Israel. God treasured Israel, but they had turned from Him, as if hidden from Him.
3)         As in the other parables, the field is the world.
4)         The man who found the treasure is Christ as in the former parables.
5)         He sold all that he had and bought the field containing the treasure.
c.          The interpretation
1)         Israel had a long history of rebelling against God. During the 40 years of wilderness wanderings, they frequently rebelled. During the 300 years of the Judges, Israel repeatedly rejected the Lord. Many of the prophets including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and many of the Minor Prophets, warned and exhorted Israel to return to the Lord. Jesus himself said, (Matthew 23:37) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” God loved Israel though she had left Him for idols (Hosea 3:1).
2)         The Lord came to this earth to seek the lost. (Luke 19:10) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
3)         Christ, who was rich, gave His all to save mankind. (2 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.
4)         The Creator of the universe became a babe in a manger. (Luke 2:12) “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
5)         The King of kings took on the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:5-8) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 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.
6)         He paid the ultimate price by dying for us. (Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
d.         The application
1)         Though Israel had rejected Christ, He still loved them dearly. He wanted them back.
2)         He died on the cross to purchase their redemption.
3)         God’s love and sacrifice is a great encouragement!
2.        The Pearl of Great Price
As we will see, this parable is very similar to the Hidden Treasure parable, but with a different treasure.
a.         The true-to-life story
1)         In this story, a merchant man is seeking quality pearls.
2)         He was always on the lookout for such pearls and one day he found one of great value.
3)         He sold all that he had and bought that one pearl.
4)         In the former parable, the farmer accidently found the hidden treasure. In this parable, the merchant man was seriously and deliberately searching for quality pearls.
5)         Living near the ocean, the disciples may have known men who found and traded in pearls.
b.         The terms Jesus used
1)         The kingdom of heaven is Christ reigning in the lives of believers during the Church Age.
2)         The merchant man was a trader in pearls. Here is a man whose life it is to travel and trade in pearls.
3)         The pearl of great price was the most valuable pearl this merchant had ever found.
4)         He sold all that he had, and bought it.
c.          The interpretation
1)         Christ is the merchant man who is looking for a valuable pearl. That pearl is the souls of men.
2)         Your soul is of the highest value in the sight of God. In fact, it is of so much value that Christ left heaven’s glory and humbled himself to become a man so that He could pay the tremendous cost by death on a cross and resurrection back to life in order to redeem your soul from hell.
3)         Though we inherited a rebellious sin nature from Adam and Eve, and though we have willingly disobeyed God countless times, our souls are still precious to God. (1 John 4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
d.         The application
1)         These two parables are very similar. In both, God looked down on the sinful human race and saw great value.
2)         Consider Christ’s love described in (Hebrews 12:2) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3)         We have learned that true Christians are the wheat in God’s field surrounded by tares or unbelievers. They are part of the mustard plant in which birds or unbelievers lodge in the branches. They are like the three measures of flour into which yeast or unbelievers is mixed. Yet, true Christians, both Jew and Gentile, are precious to God. He paid the ultimate price for their redemption.
Conclusion: My friend, God loves you very much. Your soul is precious to Him. He paid with His own death and resurrection to redeem you from hell and buy you to Himself. He has paid your debt, but He cannot apply it to your account until you repent and believe on Him. Have you done that? If not, why not do so today!
            If you are positive you know Christ, take time right now to thank Him for His great love and sacrifice for you.
Song: Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart – 244