“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:44-46 ESV)
Today we study two more parables of Jesus regarding the kingdom of heaven. Today’s parables both speak of how to enter God’s eternal kingdom and become a permanent member of God’s family. Just as He has done in the previous parables, Jesus teaches using a story built from a situation familiar to His listeners.
There were no banks back then so people would instead hide their valuables in the ground for safe keeping. This also protected them from being plundered by invaders, an all too common occurrence in this part of the world in ancient times.
But when the owner of the valuables died or was forced to leave his land the treasure would remain in the ground until someone came upon it unexpectedly. We sometimes hear of a stash of valuable coins being found in modern-day Israel. These were likely buried as part of this ancient practice.
In Israel at this time anyone who found such a treasure could keep it. This is exactly what happens in the first parable. A man found a treasure hidden in a field. He then covered it back up and went off to sell all that he had to buy that field.
In the second parable a merchant (a wholesaler) was intentionally searching for fine pearls. In the parable he finds one pearl of great value. Like the man in the first parable, he sold all that he had and bought the pearl.
From these parables we learn a few things about entering God’s kingdom. We learn that it must be individually attained. One cannot become part of God’s family through inheritance or by simply going to church. Each one of us must find God on our own.
Second, one must surrender all they previously thought was important to them for what God offers. What God offers is far more valuable than anything we have or will attain on this earth [Matthew 6:32-33; Philippians 3:8]. Sadly, many are unwilling to pay this price [Mark 10:17-22].
Notice also just like the treasure was hidden and the pearl’s value was only recognizable to the experienced merchant, so too is God’s kingdom hidden from most people in the world. They go about their lives focused on earthly things therefore they don’t see the immense value in knowing God.
Finally, notice that God’s kingdom is found in different ways by different people. The first man was probably a poor field worker. The second man was a wealthy merchant. The former was not looking for treasure. The latter was in search of treasure. Both men found it. And both were willing to pay whatever price was necessary to obtain it.
Salvation is a free gift of God [Ephesians 2:8-9]. But it comes at a cost. It may cost your reputation, your friends and family. It may cost financial security. It will definitely cost you your pride.
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