Matthew 13:31-52 Written July 5, 1998 (Revised Jan 8, 2012)
Have you ever come across something so beautiful that you did not want to leave it? Like a beautiful garden, with its sweet aroma, the cheery songs of its birds or the sparkling warmth of the sun on its wandering brock. Do you wish you could turn back the clock and have more time to take in such beauty? Maybe you have not yet found anything of great beauty and wish for more time and better health to continue your search. Or perhaps you are discouraged by life and have given up looking.
Today’s passage tells of such beauty. It tells of the kingdom of heaven, being like a treasure and like a pearl of great price. Matthew chapter 13 includes a number of parables or stories that teach about the Kingdom of Heaven. In Old Testament times the Israelites watched for the coming of this Kingdom. In the New Testament, John the Baptist came before Jesus did saying “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 3:2) After this, Jesus began His ministry saying the same thing, “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at Hand.” (Matt 4:17) Throughout His ministry, Jesus spoke a lot of the Kingdom of Heaven. A study of the scripture shows that Jesus did what was needed to bring this kingdom to His people, when he suffered God’s wrath and died on the cross. Jesus took the punishment that sin required to be paid. All sin had to be paid for and washed away. After paying the price required for our sin, by shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus demonstrated His power over sin and death and rose from the dead. Now all was set for the kingdom to become a reality. Then, Jesus ascended up into heaven and was enthroned as King of the kingdom. Then, He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and established His kingdom on earth.
The Kingdom of heaven had its new beginnings here on earth. In those days it was tiny, like a mustard seed with only 120 people. (Acts 1:15) Soon after, 3000 people, who repented of their sins, were added (Acts 2:41) and then 2000 more. (Acts 4:4) Since that time, some 2000 years ago, this kingdom, in spite of great opposition form the devil and the kingdoms of this world, made of those who do not really love God, has continued to grow. One day, the kingdom of heaven will stand great above all others just as the mustard tree is greater than all other herbs.
This kingdom of heaven with its small beginnings some 2000 years ago is the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. A mustard tree keeps on growing, and so has Christ’s Church. Here in Canada we might wonder at this. To often our churches are losing members to the world and church doors are closing. Some churches no longer teach the truths of Jesus Christ. In the passage we read, we are also told the kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field, a treasure so great it is worth selling everything in order to obtain it. Today, in Canada, the truth of God often seems hidden. Many in our country may be ignoring the greatness of God’s Kingdom, It may be hidden, but this does not change the truth that it is a treasure of great price. Let those who can hear this rejoice. If you have not found this treasure, seek it with all of your heart.
Next, the church was compared to a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who when he found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Of this pearl, it is written, elsewhere, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” What is in store for those who are part of the kingdom of heaven is better the you can imagine, more beautiful than the most beautiful place. Are you part of the kingdom of heaven, looking forward to a new resurrected body in the new heaven and new earth? If not, do you desire it?
Don’t give up until you have found this great treasure, until you have found the kingdom of heaven. You can expect the kingdom of heaven to have beautiful blessings beyond your expectations. Seek to find it, like the man we read about searching for a treasure. Be willing to do whatever it takes to find it. Jesus, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, has promised. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Having found the Kingdom of Heaven, you then must be willing to give up everything and serve Jesus the King and the true pearl of the kingdom. This may seem hard but Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and his burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
The passage ended by comparing he Kingdom of Heaven to a fishing net that catches both good and bad. Just because you are a member of a church on earth does not mean that you will receive the blessings of the kingdom. The church on earth has both good and bad people. In the end both the good and the bad will be gathered from the earth. The good will be gathered to heaven and receive most beautiful blessings and the bad will be separated out and cast into the furnace of fire where there will be wailing an gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:50)
You see, like obtaining the most beautiful treasure, there is a great cost to entering the kingdom of heaven. To be good in God’s eyes you must be washed clean of all your sin. To God, sin is awful. Sin cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You can only be wiped clean of sins awfulness at great cost. God, Himself, came to earth, as Jesus the Son to die on the cross and pay the great price to wipe His people clean of sin. Those who do not believe this will pay the price themselves through eternal damnation in hell. So acknowledge your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall enter God’s most beautiful place, the kingdom of heaven, the place God has prepared for those who love Him.
Then, reach out to those around you. Take you place in the kingdom of God, here on this earth, reach out to others with the message, comfort, beauty and greatness of God and His kingdom.
For direct quotes from scripture I used
The New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Let us pray.