This is the first in a series of three blog posts on the “Pearl of Great Price”. Read the second one here.
In Matthew 13:45-46, Jesus presents a parable designed to illustrate the great value of the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:45-46, (45) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, (46) and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
To the one who understands value, this “pearl of great price” is worth more than anything in the world, more than everything we have; but what is the kingdom, and what about it could possibly be of such surpassing value?
Beginning with Matt 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Jesus mentions the kingdom in more than 100 verses (NASB). Clearly, it was an important theme of His ministry. Some things we learn about the kingdom from the New Testament are:
- It is not an earthly, physical kingdom (John 18:36).
- It would come while many who saw Jesus were alive (Mark 9:1).
- It is an eternal kingdom (2 Pet 1:11; 1 Cor 15:24).
- It is made up of those who have been “born again… born of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Pet 1:3-4, 22-23).
- It contains the redeemed, those forgiven of their sins (Col 1:13-14).
In the book of Acts, we learn that the kingdom was established after Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven. Peter confirms this in his first sermon (Acts 2:22-36). We also learn that with the coming of the kingdom came the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Acts begins with the disciples asking if the time to restore the kingdom had come (Acts 1:6) and ends with Paul preaching the kingdom in Rome (Acts 28:30-31). Paul preached the kingdom, but he also preached the gospel (Acts 14:15, 21; 16:10; 20:24; Rom 1:1, 9, 15-16; 2 Cor 11:7).
In Rom 1:16 Paul says that the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” In Col 1:1-14, he says the gospel brings “the hope laid up for [us] in heaven [eternal life, Titus 1:2-3],” and that in Christ we “have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” and have been transferred “to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
What is the great value of the kingdom of heaven, the “pearl of great price?” It is, at its core, that those in the kingdom of heaven are the ones who have embraced the gospel message. Jesus died for our sins, and through His blood and the power of His resurrection we can have forgiveness of sins, a restored relationship with God, and the hope of eternal life with God.
We were created for this purpose from the beginning … to have fellowship with God. Because of sin, we lost everything. Through Christ, God has made it possible to restore that relationship … in this life, and for eternity.