One of the great chapters out of Matthews gospel – Matthew 13 - comes right after Israel’s national rejection of Jesus as Messiah on the basis that He was demon-possessed. That’s Matthew 12. Right after that, Jesus started telling parables or stories. Parables are extended metaphors to get across a key point or truth - a story laid down alongside a truth for the purposes of comparison. They are not allegories where every detail is significant, so don’t read too much into them. But the context of Matthew 13 will tell you how to interpret each of them.
Why do I say that? Hermeneutical consistency. The Matthew 13 pattern is a man, a field, and an object of affection. The “man” is the Lord. The “field” is the world. The object of affection – the treasure and pearl is you. The people of Israel were like a treasure to Jesus, hidden among the nations of the world, with Jesus giving up everything to secure them. The church is so loved by the Savior, that He divested himself of everything to acquire this pearl. We know from previous parables, that Jesus appears in his own parable. Jesus is the Sower. He's the One who sows the living seed of the Word into the hearts of people. He is the Owner of the field and will one day come and His angels will separate the wheat from the chaff. He is the mustard seed that will grow in it’s influence across the world. He is the leaven that changes a person’s life and transforms their nature from the inside out. And He is the plowman and the purchaser of the treasure and the pearl – which is you.
The reason this is important is that He won’t be everything to you until you believe “I’m everything to God.” No cost was too high for Jesus. God - for the joy of having Israel as his own and for the joy of having us as his Church – He gave up heaven’s most valuable asset – the very Son of God – to insure that we belong to Him. This is the Gospel. And when you’re smitten by this truth, “Serendipity!” You’ll flip the parabolic script to where Jesus isn’t just the one divesting himself of all his wealth to secure the treasure, the pearl of you. But when you see that - you’ll be willing to part with everything to have this Savior.
The disciples felt as if nothing was happening. Israel’s leaders reject. Jesus stopped presenting the kingdom to them. Caesar was still reigning. Nothing was happening that they could see. Jesus tells several parables that basically say “I’m working my kingdom plan, but it's hidden now. You can’t see it.” Jesus in so many words is saying “I want you to see what other people can’t see. There’s something going on that no one else can see.” That was the disciples. “Nothing is happening!” So, Jesus starts telling stories to illustrate how the mystery kingdom will take shape and you won’t see it. Jesus stops presenting himself to Israel and focuses on a new form of the kingdom – the church. Spiritual treasure is often not where you think it is. It’s hidden and in unexpected places. It’s not openly displayed. It’s unseen. You can’t see it. God is always doing something before you know it.
Jesus hides spiritual treasure under a field of ordinariness. Sometimes, it’s not the best-selling author or the Hollywood icon or the Tiktok influencer that offers you the transformational insight; it’s a local pastor or teacher or school janitor or bus driver or farmer that holds the wealth in their hands, the secrets to true, Jesus-kind of joy. Sometimes, the person with the greatest perspective has a double chin or tea-stained teeth or walks with a limp. Sometimes, they live in an RV or an apartment up town and have no fashion sense at all. Sometimes, they live along gravel roads and feed babies and make pies and hang the cloths out to dry. Jesus buries treasure under ordinary people. And these ordinary people get together as a church and champion Jesus and his work.
You are the treasure. And Jesus is the One who has sold everything as it were to ensure that He has you. And because of His love for you, the ultimate treasure for us is Christ. He is priceless and is worth more than everything else that can be found in this world. Why would I say that? Jesus is of supreme value for several reasons (with help from Colin Smith). He is of supreme value – because of…
Who Jesus is: He is Creator and all wisdom and power is located in Him.
What Jesus has done: He has lived the life that God requires of every person.
What Jesus offers: This risen Son of God extends the most incredible invitation that can be extended “Come to me... I will give you rest.”
How long Jesus stays: Every treasure you have can be taken from you, except one. Jesus can’t be taken from you by anyone.
We are not the only treasure and pearl. Jesus is Treasure and Pearl.
As Louie Giglio has said many times, “Never ever believe the lie that anything is better than Jesus!”