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Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Pearl of Great Price -- Part 1

 Why did Jesus speak in parables?

          Jesus spoke in parables in fulfillment of Isaiah 6:9, “Keep on listening, but do not understand; keep on looking, but do not understand.”  At the time of Isaiah, the Israelites were spiritually blind and deaf because of their sin against God. Those who rejected Jesus in the New Testament were also spiritually blind and deaf. They could not understand the truth because they rejected the One who is the Truth. By speaking in parables Jesus was veiling himself. (Mark 4:9-12) There is a veil over the Word of God that only Jesus can lift. 2 Corinthians 3:14: But their minds were blinded. For until his day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 
              Jesus used the things of the earth to speak spiritual truth. Why? He created it all; therefore, the whole earth has a message of Jesus and the kingdom of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the whole earth is full of His glory. So, Jesus sometimes spoke truth in parables. His disciples understood because they believed that Jesus is the Messiah that God had promised would come. Mark 4:11: And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.” Without Jesus and the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth, we would all be spiritually blind and deaf. Colossians 2:3 says that all the mysteries of the kingdom of God are hidden in Christ.  Because His disciples accepted His truth, Jesus gave them more and more truth. To those who hunger and thirst for truth, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will give more and more truth—“for whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance….” Matthew 13:12 Spiritual truth cannot be discerned by worldly vision and hearing, only by spiritual vision and hearing.

              In Matthew 13, Jesus speaks seven parables about the Kingdom of God. He began with the Sower and the Seed and the Growing Seed. The Sower is Jesus and the seed is the Word of God. Jesus showed the growth of the seed or the lack thereof in the receivers. Next, Jesus spoke of the separation of the wheat and the tares, and then the mustard seed that grew into a large tree. The final two are the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. All these parables illustrate the Kingdom of God and how it is developed.

 Pearl of Great Price

         The parable about the hidden treasure in the field shows the value of the kingdom to one who accidentally finds it. This person sells all he has to buy the field to obtain and own the treasure. Jesus purchased the field of earth with His blood in order to obtain followers who are His treasure as He is our treasure. “For we have this Treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 The owner of the field would also own the treasure!

In the parable of the pearl, the merchant is seeking it. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost. No matter how the kingdom of God is found, it is valuable. The treasure and the pearl of great price were the object and greatest desire of the Man and the Merchant (Jesus).

       Jesus now tells His disciples that “the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45 The merchant in this parable wasn’t seeking  just any pearl. He had found many pearls which he had bought and sold, but now the merchant was looking for a glorious, beautiful pearl that would be of great value to Him. This pearl was more glorious and worth more than all the other pearls he had found. It was so glorious and beautiful that he stopped searching, sold all that he had and bought it. Jesus is more valuable than all the others and His Bride-to-be will also be glorious and beautiful. This pearl represents Jesus and the Bride of Christ who reflects the beauty of Christ and who has made herself glorious and ready for her King. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His Bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7 Notice it is the Bride’s responsibility to make herself ready for her King. There is an action on her part! Revelation 19:8 says that His Bride has “clothed herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”  Jesus is seeking and searching for those whose hearts are all His and who have allowed His cleansing and transforming. Pearls are found in oysters and clams, but not every oyster or clam. Those who give up all to follow Jesus will understand the ultimate value of the Kingdom of Christ and will become valuable to Him by allowing His cleansing and transformation.

Jesus is the Merchant and the Pearl. “In Him, all things consist.” Colossians 1:17 The cost of our salvation came at a great cost to God – the separation, suffering and death of His only begotten Son. Jesus gave up all to purchase us! He gave up His place of glory with the Father in the Heavenly throne room to put on the flesh of man in order to seek and save humanity. This is the love of God for humanity in full display. He is the pearl because there is none more glorious or valuable than Him. He is One of a kind! Jesus travels far and wide in search of that glorious, valuable pearl. He will not be satisfied until that Pearl is His.
          Jesus is the One who seeks, not the opposite. John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He may give you.”  Jesus is the Seeker (merchant), but He cannot be bought. He must be received willingly from the heart out of love. Jesus bought our salvation willingly through His precious blood out of His and the Father’s love for mankind who were originally created in their image and likeness. We are not our own. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20  Because God’s Pearl of Great Price – Jesus – paid the price of our salvation, we are to become His precious pearl of great price by glorifying Him in our body and spirit.

Once having sought and found us, Jesus wants us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Matthew 6:33 First, we must recognize the value of the price Jesus paid. Then we are to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We have nothing of value as sinners, but Jesus will begin to shape and form us into a valuable precious pearl if we are willing to listen and obey. This precious pearl represents the Bride of Christ. There were other “goodly” pearls the merchant had gathered and sold, but the most valuable pearl was far more glorious than the others. It was “one” pearl indicating the unity of the Bride of Christ with Jesus and other believers. Jesus wants to cover us with His beauty by allowing His transforming power to put His righteousness and glory in us and out of us to others through our actions, words and deeds, “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:27 In transforming us, we become more valuable and precious to Him every day. We also become more valuable to the kingdom of God when we seek Him with our whole heart. The original disciples left all to follow Jesus.

When the merchant found this pearl of great price, he stopped seeking. The merchant surrendered all to receive this glorious pearl. He had need of nothing more as we have need of nothing except Jesus. As Christ surrendered all for us, we are to surrender all to Christ. I can’t help but think of the hymn “I Surrender all, all to thee my precious Savior, I surrender all” as I write this. Jesus will stop seeking when He marries His Bride. Their union will be celebrated at the wedding supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7)

The treasure and the pearl of great value were the objects and greatest desire of the Man and the Merchant (Jesus). Lost humanity is the object of Jesus’ greatest desire. He gave up everything to suffer, save, make us righteous and bring humanity back to an eternal relationship with the Godhead, just as Adam and the Woman had before sin entered.

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