One Pearl of Great Price: A Meditation

The Merchant sold all he had...
The Merchant sold all he had...

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46 (KJV)

There are several interpretations of this passage.  The first one that comes to mind is the one that has the most implications in the lives of Christ-followers on this earth.  The idea that we Christians are to be willing to give up all of the trappings and comforts of life- in keeping with Christ’s example.  After all He, the Son of God, came to earth both divine and human, made “little a lower than angels:”

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 2:9 (NIV)

As the passage says, He died for us- humbling himself to death that we may live.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature
[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature
[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

-Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)

At the core of His sacrifice was humility.  In being imitators of Christ, Christ-followers, we are to follow His example.  Jesus did indeed sacrifice for us- and it is not much to ask those who live through His death to sacrifice as well.

Another interpretation of Matthew 13:45-6 focuses on the pearl itself.  The pearl that the merchant sells his possessions for is likened to the Kingdom of Heaven.  A pearl is also the product of a great deal of suffering and discomfort.  The pearl stands in for the Church, the product perfected through the suffering at the heart of the oyster.  The beauty of the pearl is the product of a sacrifice.  Unlike other gem stones, a pearl requires no cutting, as it is a complete, single, and unified entity.  Of course, this refers to the Church fully realized in Christ’s love.  And of course, the merchant is Christ- one who possessing great wealth, gives it up for the sake of this “pearl of great price.”

I think I just wanted to write about this to explore what it is about pearls that I love so much.  And I hoped to tie this to my musings on the Word.

I’m tired, so I’m afraid that this post will have to be incomplete.


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