In the Kingdom of heaven, we are delightfully precious to God.

"The kingdom of heaven is like ..." Jesus is teaching us something about the kingdom of heaven. Matthew is the only one who uses the phrase "kingdom of heaven." The other Gospels use the phrase "kingdom of God." There is no difference in meaning between the two phrases.


But what is the kingdom of heaven? What is the kingdom of God? Both phrases refer to God's dominion in Christ, to God's kingly reign in Christ. God's kingly reign in Christ is eternal. It covers the entire world and all the nations and powers of the world. It extends to the whole universe.


This reign is recognized only by God's people and is contested by unbelievers and the powers of darkness. There will come a day, however, when all nations and all peoples will recognize and submit to God's reign and rule.  (Isaiah 43: 10 – 13.)


We can say that the divine reign of God is a present reality that will be fully realized and recognized and glorified when Jesus returns.


Matthew comes to us in Mathew13: 44 – 52 with two parables of Jesus and tells us something about the kingdom of heaven. "The kingdom of heaven is like ..."


The Second Parable

Listen, again, to the words of this parable and what it says about the kingdom of heaven:

(Mat 13:45-46) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. (46) When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.


We are told about a merchant looking for fine pearls. In those days, before pearl farms and diving gear, pearls were among the most precious of all gems. They were obtained only by divers specially trained to dive into the depths of the Red-sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean for oysters. Thus, they were very rare and very valuable. The merchant of our parable was looking for these kinds of pearls, "fine pearls" – pearls of the highest quality, the perfect shape, and just the right shade of white.


God finds a pearl, "one of great value." This is a gem of rare excellence. To obtain it for himself he "sold everything he had and bought it."


Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is like the merchant – like the merchant seeking and finding the pearl. So, it is the kingdom that seeks and finds. It is the kingdom that sacrifices and buys. It is the kingdom that finds the perfect pearl, a fine pearl, and obtains it all costs.


It is the reign of God in Christ that finds the pearl of great value.

The pearl is something of great value. It is something the kingdom seeks and finds.

The pearl must be you and me!


Surely not, you might say to me. Doesn't the Bible talk about us as sinners that disappoint God all the time? How can you say I am a significant part of this pearl, a precious jewel?


Listen to what the Bible says elsewhere. Peter says we are "living stones ... being built into a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5).

(1 Pet 2:9) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


You and I are like the pearl. The kingdom reign of Jesus is like the merchant. When we realize this, then we realize the price that is paid for us. Then we realize everything that he gave up for us. Listen to what the Bible says:

(1 Pet 1:18-19) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, (19) but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.


Do you see what the kingly reign of Jesus, gave up purchasing you and me? God gave up his one and only Son. Jesus gave up, for a while, the glory that was his since eternity. Jesus gave up his throne in heaven. Jesus was humiliated and took on our flesh. Jesus suffered and died on the cross.

Jesus gave up all to purchase you and me.


So, in this parable we have the good news, the gospel, of the kingdom (cf Mt 4:23; 9:35) we see that God loved us so much that he gave his only Son to redeem us from our sin, because he is the merchant that treasures us above all in his Kingdom. Believe it!