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Pearls, Treasure in the Field, and the Kingdom of God


Jesus said, “Again the Kingdom of Heaven is like a trader who is looking for fine pearls. Once he has found a pearl of exceptional quality, he goes away, sells everything he has and buys it” (Mt 13:45-46). Pearls were said to be more highly valuable in the past than now. Hence Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Mt 7:6).

There are similarities and differences among the pearl, the treasure, and the Kingdom of Heaven. The similarities are:

1. The hidden treasure, the fine pearl, and the Kingdom of Heaven are highly valuable and desirable. The one who desires them knows the value of what he or she is going to gain.

2. The person who bought the fine pearl or the field with the treasure had to sell everything else he owned to possess it. The one who seeks the Kingdom of God also has to sacrifice worldly riches and conveniences for the sake of the Kingdom.

3. The one who buys the field, pearl, or the Kingdom would feel boundless joy in obtaining them despite the sacrifices involved.

4. The person who buys the field or pearl becomes instantly rich. Those who seek the Kingdom of God become fabulously wealthy in heaven.

5. To achieve any of the three, quick action has to take place. When Jesus called the apostles, they immediately followed him.

The differences in the parables of the hidden treasure, the fine pearl, and the Kingdom of Heaven are:

1. The one who finds the hidden treasure comes across it unexpectedly. The merchant who found the fine pearl had been seeking it for a long time. God had promised the Kingdom of Heaven for centuries and people had been expecting it since then. However, it arrived unexpectedly.

2. There is secrecy and a moral issue involved in purchasing the field with hidden treasure. That is not the case with buying the fine pearl or joining the Kingdom of Heaven.

3. Both the parables deal with possessions of the temporal world. Whereas the Kingdom of God is a spiritual and eternal achievement. So, not all might comprehend it.

4. The one who bought the field paid less than the value of the hidden treasure. In contrast, the trader pays the market price for the fine pearl. In the Kingdom’s case, the outcome is far more valuable than any sacrifice in this world.

Like the trader who had been seeking the fine pearl found the pearl of an exceptional quality, those who have been waiting for the Kingdom of God found it. Jesus told his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Mt 13:17). When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, wise men from the east came in search of the newborn King of the Jews and found him after a long journey of hardships and adverse weather (Mt 2:1-12). For them, the Infant Child, who was born the Messiah, was the pearl of exceptional quality they have been assiduously searching for.

Simeon, who blessed the infant Jesus when his parents presented him in the Temple, “was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord” (Lk 2:25-26). Anna, the prophetess, and the people in the Temple were waiting for the Messiah. “Coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:38). John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Lk 7:19) Thus, many who had been seeking the Messiah found him in Jesus.

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