It seems like our nature is speaking to our five wits to announce that a new season has come! The weather is turning its temperature down in the morning. The daytime is getting shorter. Large cotton clouds are looming large during the day, and crickets chirping at night. And I thank God for the beauty of every season of the year telling the faithfulness and immutableness. This is our God!
This week, while we were doing our Bible Study, a couple of members brought a difficulty about one of the parables we were contemplating. In Matthew 13, there are parables Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven. Verse 44-46 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46 When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)
Too many times, I interpreted “the treasure and the precious pearl” to Jesus and we as believers who have found Jesus as our Savior ought to sell and give up everything to inherit the kingdom of heaven. That’s one of the ways to understand it. But as I studied more, I discovered a new interpretation. Their view was that the center of this parables is Jesus. The treasure hidden in a field refers to the nation of Israel, God’s “treasured possession” (Ex. 19:5; Ps 135:4). That nation was placed in the world to bring glory to God, but it failed. It became a nation hidden, a treasure not being invested to produce God’s glory. Jesus Christ gave His all to purchase the whole world in order to save the nation. And pearls may represent the church, the bride of Jesus Christ. Pearls are uniquely formed. “Its formation occurs because of an irritation in the tender side of an oyster. There is a sense in which the church was formed out of the wounds of Christ and has been made possible by His death and sacrifice” (John F. Walvoord, Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come, p.105). The merchant who sold everything he had in order to buy the highly valued pearl represents Jesus Christ who through His death provided redemption for those who would believe. So, Jesus is the center of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Sometimes, we view our church under our own experience; such as how the church building was built, who started it, what denomination we belong, how many people attend, or what mission and ministry the church had done and is doing. However, isn’t it important to keep in mind that the church is like the precious pearl for which the merchant (who is Jesus) found the very precious pearl that he gave his life and everything to own it? We don’t have to look at ourselves like we’re going downhill, we are small, or we don’t have this and that. We should not judge our church from the status quo, either. Jesus said the church is like a fine pearl. A pearl grows gradually, and the church grows gradually as the Spirit convicts and converts sinners. But no one can see the making of the pearl, for it is hidden in the shell of the oyster under the water and the way it is made is as a natural defense against an irritant such as parasite entering their shell or damage to their fragile body. Irritation!! Ouch!! However, within the period of time the church would be growing in a way that no one can see its growth in the world and the church is among the nations today and one day it will be revealed in its beauty.
Kingdom of Heaven is nothing but
Jesus Christ our Lord! He is the center and the essence of it! How do you yield
your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? How do you obey to Jesus as your
Lord and Savior? That’s the key to which we live into the Kingdom of God that has
already begun here and now! So that we can see and feel how passionately He
loves you and me and we can live to the fullness of this new life made possible
Pastor Heewon Kim