In our last program, we tried to understand how something clean could actually come from something unclean. How is that even possible.
We looked at the preciousness of pearls and how valuable they are, but that this treasure comes out of a shell fish which according to the Law of God, is unclean. The parable of the ‘Pearl of great price’ could be seen as a contradiction because it’s a picture of God valuing something unclean and that’s confusing but we can understand easily that the parable is explaining that the pearls are those whom Christ dies for and He makes them clean.
The picture of course is even bigger than we first thought, which usually the case when it comes to Hebrew thought…it’s multi-layered and multi-dimentional.
If you take a map of the earth and lay it out flat, which country is basically at the centre? Israel is situated right in the centre, in the midst of the nations of the earth. It’s a tiny speck on the globe but its right at the heart of the world.
The neighbourhood where Israel lives is a very, VERY hostile neighbourhood…who picked this particular location for Israel to live? God Himself! He placed them there, like a tiny irritant, to grow and develop – not among their friends and family, but rather among their enemies and adversaries. The Mediterranean Sea is their western border, and the name Mediterranean means, ‘Middle Earth’ or ‘Middle of the earth’, and when Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh (Ephraim is interchangeably used in the OC as a name for Israel) he said that they would grow into a multitude and dwell in the midst of the nations. (Gen 48)
Medi = medius = middle. Terra = land.
David said very prophetically of Jesus and of Israel His people in Psalm 23:5, “You (God) prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”
While as individual believers we grow and mature over a period of many years, so has the people of Israel. She has endured more pressure, more animosity, more tribulation and hardship, more persecution and hatred from the nations of the earth than any other people on the planet and God has kept His promise to her.
He brought her back to her land after 2000 years of dispersion, persecution, near extermination, vitriolic malice and intent and established her borders, strengthened her government, prospered all the works of her hands and made her renowned among the nations. Through the trial and the struggle, God has developed, transformed and used Israel to be a light to the nations for His glory, for her benefit and for the nations to see, believe and esteem Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, God over every other God.
Israel His chosen people is His pearl of great price, developed and beautified among the tribulation and hardship of the world; we believers in an individual context are His pearls of great price, developed and beautified as a result of the tribulation and hardship of the world. God’s people, Jew and Gentile believers, are the pearls who are of great price. Who paid this great price? God paid this great price by sending His Son who paid with His very life.
What was the great price paid for these valuable pearls?
The sacrificial death of Jesus Himself. The greatest, most costly price in the universe.
Matthew 13:45-46, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding the one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.’
This parable can certainly mean that when a person hears the Gospel message and realises it’s eternal value, he’s prepared to give up his entire life…family, fortune, job, position, reputation…absolutely everything in order to claim that precious pearl of eternal life and forgiveness of sin, encapsulated as the Gospel.
But when you look at the fact that the pearl comes from something non-Kosher or something unclean, you can understand a deeper and more far reaching application. This parable is not only appropriate for Gentiles who come into God family as adopted children, but it also encompasses the role of His chosen people and their role and influence on the entire world.
Who is the Merchant? Jesus.
What is the Merchant seeking? Pearls.
What are pearls? Irritations from an unclean creature.
What does the Merchant pay? Everything He has…even His very life.
Based on the writings of Lois Tverberg