Chapter Thirty Eight – Matthew 13: More Kingdom Talk

pearl

To give all that you are, for all that He is – This is the gospel according to Jesus

  • Steve Camp, Consider the Cost, from the 1991 album of the same title

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go

God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control

  • Tenth Avenue North, Control (Somehow You Want Me), from the 2016 album “Followers”

The key phrase in the remaining five parables of this chapter is “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” (v. 31, 33, 44, 45, & 47). Jesus repeats these words to begin each simile. In one instance, the Christ says it’s like a mustard seed. In the others, it’s like yeast, a hidden treasure, and a wily merchant.  Finally, He compares it to a fishing net. Seems like Jesus is all over the place, doesn’t it?  How are we supposed to get any type of clarity? What is the Kingdom of Heaven really like?

It’s complicated for one thing. It’s all of these similes and more. The Christ is trying to communicate to mere human minds the lofty ideals of a spiritual place. It starts small like a mustard seed or a bit of yeast yet manages to grow and permeate society. It is valuable like a hidden treasure that is found in a field. The person who finds it sells everything he has to acquire the field and thus, the treasure within its borders. It catches everything in its wake like a fishing net thrown into the water. Therefore, it is indiscriminate.

But the parable I want to focus on here is the one about the wily merchant. It’s the shortest parable that is recorded in this chapter, but it is perhaps the most important. Let’s take a look:

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (v. 45-46).

What is the Christ trying to say here? For one thing, He’s saying that He is the merchant and we are the choice pearls. He is saying that He will give everything to make us His. He’s saying He is relentless in His pursuit of us. “In contrast to the previous picture, Jesus is now displaying another aspect of the Kingdom. The contrast becomes vivid in the transaction – the Kingdom pays the ultimate price to possess the pearl, the price God was willing to pay to redeem us” (Study Bible, p. 1671). That makes us valuable and wanted. Isn’t that amazing?

It’s so freeing to know no matter what we do or don’t achieve in life, God has already considered us as prized for a place in His Kingdom. Why? Because we are image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-27). We bear the image of God. We are the piece de la resistance in His creation and He was willing to give up EVERYTHING to keep us with Him. That’s the whole point of the Christ. God steps down from the comfort and luxury of His heavenly throne and takes on flesh, which He allows to be destroyed just so we are redeemed. It’s crazy. But no other figure in all of human history (past, present, future) will ever do this for us. Not another god. Not a superhero. Not a Nobel Prize Winner or a star athlete. The richest man on earth, Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, will never sacrifice himself for any one of us, let alone all of us. Only Jesus.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Jesus is the only one who can control us without destroying us. Everything else, everything else, taken to its extreme will be our ruin. I don’t care what it is – love, hate, food, drugs, sex, others, fame, fortune, success, failure…all of it leads to our downfall. We can’t save ourselves. So Jesus reaches down and offers to save us. He thinks that much of us. Which makes me wonder why so many of us think so little of ourselves? Don’t we know our value? Don’t we know our place? It’s in His Kingdom. Why don’t we take our hands off of our live and give Him control?

And You reach for me, with a love that quiets all my fears / And You reach for me, like a Father wipes away the tears / So many people in this world but I hear You calling out my name / You reach for me / Now I’m never gonna be the same – Peter Furler, Reach, from the 2011 album “On Fire”.

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Kris White

Kris White resides in the southwest desert community of Las Vegas, Nevada. She has two furry children, Ben and Mack. She is the awesome aunt to world jumpers Pike and Jude. She is the author of the soon to be released book, The Third Gate.

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