Our value to God

The Value Structure of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-46

“And upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bout it.”

 

            The following two parables present a perplexing question:  Who is the subject, and what is the treasure that is so highly valued?  There are two ways commentators have answered these questions.  The most popular view is that man and the merchant refer to people, and the treasure is the kingdom of God.  In this perspective, the focus is on the value of the gospel and participation in the kingdom.  As followers of Christ, we must recognize that participation in the domain and the salvation that Christ offers is the treasure and pearl of infinite value.  When we understand the importance of the gospel, everything else in life pales in comparison.  The kingdom of God is worth everything we have and are.  So often, we devalue our salvation and the privilege of participating in God’s redemptive kingdom.  We place other things above it and see it as an inconvenience.  But when we genuinely understand the kingdom's value, we realize there is no greater joy than participating in Christ’s kingdom and submitting to his sovereign rule.  

            However, there is also another way to look at this parable.  The previous parables' main subject is Christ or the Father.  In the parable of the sower, the one sowing the seeds is Christ himself.  This would suggest that the issue of these two parables is not us but God and Christ. Christ/God is the one who finds the treasure and places great value on the pearl.  So, who or what is the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value?  In the other parables, the object of the legend is the people and those who are participants in the kingdom, which is Israel and the church.  The new covenant, which serves as the basis for the Kingdom that Christ came to inaugurate, is a covenant that God made with Israel and served as a replacement for the Old Mosaic covenant, which the people irreparably broke.  Rather than casting the Israelites aside,  he promises a new covenant (inaugurated in the sacrificial death of Christ) in which he will completely change people's hearts so that they will be completely transformed.  It is this new covenant that the church also becomes a participant and celebrates in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

The point of this parable of the hidden treasure and costly pearl is to show the value that God places upon us. This is revealed by the cost Christ was willing to pay to redeem us back to him.  The term “redemption” is a transactional term. It refers to the price paid to purchase the freedom of a slave sold into bondage.  This pictures the work of Christ when he buys us with his death from enslavement to sin and purchases us to become his possession.  God's infinite value upon us is revealed on the cross, where Christ gave his life to redeem us back to himself.  Thus, these two parables provide us with a picture of the incredible worth that God places upon us and his intense desire to have us participate in his kingdom.  The treasure so desirable that it is worth selling everything else to obtain and the pearl that is so valuable that its price is worth all that the merchant owns, are you and I!

            This brings us back to the first interpretation of the parable.  If the parable points to the value that God places upon us, how much more should it point us to the value that we should place upon Christ and participate in his kingdom?  If the father was willing to sell all that he has (i.e., his son) so that we might become his possession, how much more should we be ready to sell everything to participate in his kingdom?  Christ's value for us determines our value for the kingdom of Christ.  When you become complacent in your Christian life and start to devalue Christ’s kingdom to pursue your agenda in life, remember the value God places upon us and what he was willing to sacrifice to purchase us.  In light of his value, how much more should we be willing to sacrifice everything to attain the kingdom he promised us?

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