The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
July 27, 2014 (7th Sunday after Pentecost)
These three verses have two important parables. They have common features, they are both a brief vignette (decorative design) of a crucial situation which is given, and they have no ample details to evaluate them as realistic stories.
The primary common feature in the parables is surely central to the meaning of each: The protagonist goes and sells everything for the sake of the one thing. This is the action of both the plowman and the merchant. This movement of the stories as a whole is to be compared with the Kingdom of God. (NIB vol. 8, p. 313).
Mathew 13:44 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he went and sold all that he had, and bought that field.”
In ancient times, and in an unsettled country like Palestine, where there were no banks, in the modern sense, it was a common practice to hide treasures in the ground. So when the war broke, people left the place and forgot the treasure. So in our parable, the laborer unexpectedly found it. Due to prevailing law the treasures were not his, so what he did he sold all his possessions and bought the land. The shrewdness should not be seen in this parable, but his sacrifice of giving up all his possessions just to buy the land.
II. Intentional Discovery: The Parable of the Pearl
Mathew 13:45-46 says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls, and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
In this parable we see a merchant who was not satisfied in his possessions so he intentionally looked for the best, “for the one pearl of great price.” When he found it like the farmer, he also sold all what he had, and bought the great pearl.
III. Important Decision: Giving up All Possessions
“…he went and sold all that he hath, and bought that field” (v.44b).
“…he went and sold all that he had, and bought it (one pearl)” (v.46b).
The hidden treasure and the expensive pearl symbolize the kingdom of God which everyone must be possessed or should I say let it possess us.
To be residents in the kingdom of God, or rule of God, we need to give up the ones we treasure in life.
In Mark 10: 20-23, one time when Jesus was preaching in the crowd, one rich man approached him and asked this question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” At first, Jesus mentioned to follow the laws, but the man answered, “Teacher, I have obeyed all of these since I was a young man.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. Then he told him, “You’re missing one thing. Go and sell everything you own, give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.”
Shocked at this statement, the man went away sad, because he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and told his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”
The story does not say that being rich is actually bad. It teaches us to give up all our possessions if necessary for the Kingdom of God.
It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply.
“And if I release your children?”
“Everything I possess.”
“And if I release your wife?”
“Your Majesty, I will give myself.”
Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all.
As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!”
With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you- -the one who was willing to give himself for me” (sermonillustrations.com).
Brethren, are we ready and willing to give up our lives, our time, our possessions, our talents for the sake of the Kingdom of God?