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Pearl of Great Price

Priceless Treasure

When you think of Jesus, do you think of Him as a priceless treasure, worth giving up "everything you have" in order to possess Him? Do you find it possible to believe that He may see you in just the same way?

Whether or not you agree with either of those ideas, I pray that He will encourage your heart as you read on.

Pearls of Wisdom

When Jesus walked this earth, He often spoke to people in parables, or stories, that would illustrate His point vividly yet simply. Some would take the stories at face value, while others would yearn to understand the deeper meaning of what He said.

In Matthew 13 verse 34 - 35 it says "Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world'."

Hidden things. Things that are awaiting discovery through revelation. Things we won't be able to see unless we have "eyes to see and ears to hear". Gifts and treasures He longs to bestow upon those who truly desire Him.

A few verses later in Matthew 13: 44 - 46, Jesus said "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

New Treasures as well as Old

Later in the same chapter (verse 52), Jesus said to His disciples "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."

Perhaps there is "more than meets the eye" in that story of hidden treasure ... perhaps Jesus would open up His storeroom and bring out "new treasures as well as old"...

I have always assumed that this scripture was talking about our hearts toward the kingdom of heaven. That heaven is like fine treasure, that we would do well to lay down all we have in order to gain. Surely that is true, and is part of what Jesus was teaching.

Is it possible there was even more significance to what He was saying?

Surely heaven IS a treasure, and Jesus IS more valuable than ANY earthly possession. He bids us to store up OUR treasure in heaven in Matthew 6: 19 - 21.... For where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.

In 2 Corinthians 4: 7 - 10, Paul said "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

Hidden Treasure

Hidden within the words of this parable in Matthew 13 is a glimpse into the heart of Jesus.... From what I can remember, I had never heard anyone else look at it this way, nor had I ever seen it this way.... Until one day spending time in worship and prayer at the feet of Jesus ... His Spirit somehow turned it over and around in my mind, opening the eyes of my spirit to another beautiful facet of this story.

This parable follows directly after several others, and I would highly recommend that you stop right now and read the entire 13th chapter of Matthew.

The chapter begins with the "Parable of the Sower" in which seeds are sown liberally on all sorts of soil, but only those in the good, fertile soil actually produce an abundant crop. Jesus explains that the seed being sown represents the message of the kingdom, and the condition of the soil represents the person hearing that word.

Next he tells the "Parable of the Weeds" in which a man sows good seed in his field, and then while everyone is sleeping, his enemy comes and sows weeds among the good seed. The owner's servants ask if they should pull out the weeds, but he tells them not to do so, lest they uproot some of the good seed. He tells them to let them both grow together until harvest time. Later, Jesus explains that this represents the "Son of Man" who sows the "good seed" of the "sons of the kingdom" into the "field" of the "world". The weeds are the "sons of the evil one", and the devil is the one who sows them.

Prior to explaining what the "Weeds" parable meant, He also told two more brief stories. One comparing the kingdom of heaven to a "mustard seed" that a man planted in a field. Even though it is among the smallest of seeds, when it grows it becomes "the largest of garden plants", like a tree, in which birds come to perch in the branches. The other story compares the kingdom of heaven to yeast that a woman "mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough".

All of these stories seem to center on a sort of theme of Jesus planting "seeds" of His kingdom in soil, fields or dough.... All things that provide a place for that "seed" to expand and grow.

It is directly after He explains the "Weeds" story at His disciples' request, that He launches into yet ANOTHER story having to do with a "field".

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

As I pondered this image in prayer, along with the many other scriptures above, it dawned on me that maybe JESUS was the "man" in this story.

His Field

Think about it. Perhaps the "field" can refer to the "vineyard" or "garden" that He has always desired of and for His people. Perhaps Jesus "found" the treasure (of Himself) that had been hidden in this "field" ... perhaps it was even He Who hid it there, back in the dawn of the ages. Who knows?

During His walk on this planet, perhaps He saw this "treasure" hidden in the fields of Israel, then "hid it again", maybe even hiding it beneath the soil as though planting a treasure-seed, a priceless pearl. Then, is it possible that in joy, He "went and sold all he had and bought that field."?

Remember that the meaning of the word "redemption" involves being "purchased" or bought back. Did He put "all he had" ... in fact, His very life ... "on the line" so He could turn around and buy back the fields of Israel? Is the treasure of Jesus "hidden" right now in the field of His Church?

Linger there for a while.

The Field of Your Heart

Is it possible that the "field" may in another way represent your very own heart as well? Was there a treasure planted inside you when He knit you together in your mother's womb, when He made you in His very image?

Is it possible that He is walking by your field right now, seeing the treasure hidden there, ready to hide even more of Himself right there in your heart? Two thousand years ago, He put all He had on the line so that He would have the means to purchase back your heart and own that field as His own.

His Treasure

Is it His? Whether it's His yet or not, do you realize He considers YOU a TREASURE? Sure, maybe that treasure is hidden underneath some good old fashioned DIRT, but it's a treasure in His eyes, nonetheless.

He has JOY in His eyes, as He lays Himself down, in order to own you. If you'll allow Him, if you'll hand over the deed to that land, I believe He will come there and plant the Pearl of Himself right there in the very center of your being. And He will tend and care for that field of your heart. He will prepare the soil so that He can grow there. He'll plant that little seed, and He will grow, until there is more of Him in you than there even is of yourself.

The plant that grows there will be like that Mustard plant, large and vibrant. Maybe it will even become more like the Tree of Life, that flourishes, yielding fruit every month, and bearing leaves that are "for the healing of the nations" (see Revelation 22: 1-2).

His plans for this field are surely to make it an abundant vineyard and garden; not some dry, abandoned and neglected plot of ground whose owner has long since forgotten it.

His love for you is AMAZING. Maybe even inspiring enough to stir within you an overflowing outpouring of love right back at Him. Maybe even enough to drive you to your knees, and make you ready, willing and able to lay down all that you have, in order that you might be able to possess Him, this awesome Treasure, this Pearl of Great Price.

May you be His, and He be yours ... treasured, forever and always.

March 27, 2006

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