A Summer in the Parables
Hidden Treasure/Pearl of Great Price
A Parable is an illustration or story that compares or contrasts an earthly reality with a spiritual truth for the purpose of teaching. Parables are full of symbolism and imagery and always use everyday people in familiar settings with ordinary objects to convey its point.
As Jesus told His Parables, He would have been using everyday objects, and familiar settings that His audience could easily connect with. So the parables He told were tailored made for the audience He was specifically speaking to.
In order to grasp the Parable’s meaning, we must first understand the world Jesus was speaking into. So there are 4 questions that we can ask that can help us see the context and enable us to get a better understanding of what Jesus is teaching.
1. Who is the audience?
2. What is their culture?
3. What is the setting?
4. What is the story being told?
Matthew 13:44-46 (CJB) “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, hid it again, then in great joy went and sold everything he owned, and bought that field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for fine pearls. On finding one very valuable pearl he went away, sold everything he owned and bought it.
First twin: Matthew 13:44 (CJB) “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, hid it again, then in great joy went and sold everything he owned, and bought that field.
1. What is the story?
The first of the twin Parables implies a man stumbled across something of great value that was hidden in a field. It is assumed that the treasure was something that occupied the entire field because there would be no sense in purchasing a field for something he might have carried away with him very easily.
Upon finding this discovery, the man rushed out immediately and sold everything he owned and invested it all in one field.
2. & 3. Who is the audience & where is the setting?
In the beginning of Chapter 13, we see Jesus is teaching a large crowd and told several parables. At the conclusion of His teaching, Jesus and His 12 disciples and went into a house where they asked Him to explain the Parable of the Weeds that He told the crowd – and this Parable follows that explanation.
4. What is the cultural influence?
Remember, the average Jew would have been very familiar with the Old Testament and would have easily made some connections.
• Proverbs 2:1-6 (CJB) My son, if you will receive My words and store My commands inside you, paying attention to wisdom inclining your mind toward understanding — yes, if you will call for insight and raise your voice for discernment, if you seek it as you would silver and search for it as for hidden treasure — then you will understand the fear of Adonai and find knowledge of God. For Adonai gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.
• Proverbs 3:13-15(CJB) Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the person who acquires understanding; for her profit exceeds that of silver, gaining her is better than gold, she is more precious than pearls —nothing you want can compare with her.
• Job 28:20-21 (CJB) “So where does wisdom come from? Where is the source of understanding, inasmuch as it is hidden from the eyes of all living and kept secret from the birds flying around in the sky?
After reading these verses, you can see how Jesus’ disciples would have made connections that we miss. His disciples believed that understanding of Scripture and wisdom from God are treasure, and much of the treasure was hidden from plain sight and the casual observer would miss the wealth contained within.
Second Twin: Matthew 13:45-46 (CJB) “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for fine pearls. On finding one very valuable pearl he went away, sold everything he owned and bought it.
1. What is the story?
This is about a merchant who was purposely searching for a treasure. After all his searching, he finally found one pearl that he knew immediately was the one he had been looking for all along.
Like the man in the first Parable, he immediately went and sold everything he had in order to purchase what he treasured – this one incredible pearl. The pearl cost him everything and he willingly gave it to own and possess it.
2. What’s the cultural influence?
In Jesus day, there was one group of people who spent their life searching for “treasure”: the religious. The disciples would have made this connection, recognizing the Pharisees, Sadducees and religious leaders as the pearl merchant.
Insights to Kingdom Life
• The Kingdom is the most valuable thing to exist.
• Jesus invites everyone into the Kingdom. He welcomes those who have no understanding, and those who have spent their entire lives searching for the Kingdom. Both are welcome and both are equal.
• The treasure can’t be seen or experienced by the casual observer. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 to “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else….” In order to possess the wealth of the Kingdom, it must be mined carefully and skillfully from the veins of treasure that run throughout the Bible. As we explore the treasures in the Word, pondering them, turning them over in our mind, meditating and ruminating on them our treasuries become full and we experience true wealth and prosperity.
• The cost for both was the same. It requires everything. Jesus said it like this in Luke 14:33 (NLT) So you cannot become My disciple without giving up everything you own.
The word “own” in the original Greek is huparchó and means I am, I exist, am in possession.
Philippians 3:7-9a (NLT) I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him.
• When we seek The Kingdom, searching the Word for the hidden treasures found within, we have an amazing promise that we will find the greatest treasure, the Pearl of Great Price. And the Pearl is Jesus. In John 5:39 (NLT) You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me!
Jesus is the Treasure – the Pearl of Great Price and Jeremiah 29:13 (CJB) When you seek Me, you will find Me, provided you seek for Me wholeheartedly;