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.
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.
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.)
can say that the divine reign of God is a present reality that will be
fully realized and recognized and glorified when Jesus returns.
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 ..."
again, to the words of this parable and what it says about the kingdom of
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.
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.
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."
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.
is the reign of God in Christ that finds the pearl of great value.
pearl is something of great value. It is something the kingdom seeks and finds.
pearl must be you and me!
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?
to what the Bible says elsewhere. Peter says we are "living stones
... being built into a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5).
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
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:
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!