In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus tells two short parables the church historically calls “The Parable of the Treasure Hidden in the Field” and “The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value.”
This sermon explores three questions about the parables:
1) What is the kingdom of heaven?
The Kingdom of Heaven in the same way exists everywhere God’s rule exists. In the broad sense, of course, God rules the whole universe, so in that broad sense, the whole universe is His Kingdom. However, in the narrower sense Jesus intends in Matthew 13, God mainly rules in the hearts of those who are his people by His grace through Jesus Christ the Son. At this point in history, God’s Kingdom is mainly His sovereign rule in the hearts of his people. The Scriptures promise that one day Jesus will rule visibly on earth, but for now God’s Kingdom is His mainly invisible rule in the hearts of Jesus’ disciples.
2) Why is the kingdom of heaven of inestimable value?
The content of eternal life is not mainly living forever; the content of eternal life is knowing God, that is, seeing and knowing and enjoying God forever. Jesus meant in these two parables that God is the treasure hidden in the field; God is the pearl of great value! As the fourth-century church leader Gregory of Nyssa so wonderfully put it:
[God] is the one who distributes the inheritance, he himself is the good inheritance. He is the good portion and the giver of the portion. He is the one who makes riches and is himself the riches. He shows you the treasure and is himself your treasure.
3) Why should we give up everything to gain the kingdom of heaven?
Jesus does not mean anyone can buy his or her way into the Kingdom of Heaven. In that sense, of course, we give up nothing to gain the Kingdom, because it was Jesus who did everything necessary to give us the Kingdom.
Instead, Jesus had two things in mind. For one, giving up everything to gain the Kingdom means giving up all efforts to try and make yourself right with God by means of good works, even religious good works. Second, giving up everything means not only surrendering every effort to make myself right with God but also surrendering the rule of my life.
Takeaway: By the grace of the Holy Spirit, go hard after God, pursuing Him for all that He is for you in Jesus Christ. Do it because God is the Treasure hidden in the field; He is the pearl of great value!