Monday, August 25, 2014

The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, part 2

In Matthew 13: 45,46 Jesus said:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
In part 1 we saw that the kingdom of heaven was like a man (Jesus) finding a treasure (the Jews) in a field (the world). In this next parable the kingdom is likened to a merchant looking for fine peals.

Pearls were not known or valued by Jews at that time (they’re only mentioned once in the Old Testament) so Jesus’ audience was probably frowning at one another at that point though they understood that the Greek word here, margarites, meant pearl or proverb (word of great value).

An interesting thing about pearls is that they are the only precious gem produced from a living organism … and they are produced from a wound. If the treasure in verse 44 is symbolic of Jews then the pearl for which this merchant sold everything could be symbolic of Gentiles. The fact that Jesus used pearl, something his listeners in that time period wouldn’t have understood, makes the parable open up for us now.

So, these two parables next to each other show that Jesus was willing to pay a great price (he died for us) to buy the treasure (Jews) and the pearl (Gentiles).

But wait, there’s more and we’ll get to that in part 3.