Hello and welcome to Tuesday’s Foundations podcast. My name is James and it is a privilege to record this short thought as we look to grow in our faith together. I hope it is as helpful to you as it has been for me to sit down and prepare them.
It can be helpful to see the gospel of Matthew in two parts, and from tomorrow you will notice a shift in the story as it picks up pace again leading to Jesus going to the cross and rising again. But today we’re focusing on two of the shortest parables, out of which will consider again the core motivation for why Jesus did what he did. His main motivation was to transform our entire lives. Jesus came to transform our entire lives. So as we talk about whole life transformation this morning our prayer is that it’s like rocket fuel for our faith. I hope it inspires you as it has me.
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
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.
So, two parables that at first look like they are saying the same thing about the Kingdom of Heaven but in two different ways. But it’s the similarities and the differences that will reveal something profound for us this morning.
In the first parable, the man working in the field, we can assume this labourer isn’t the wealthiest man in their community. It is not likely that he would have known the value of that field he was working in. He was employed for a task. Whereas in the second story we have a pearl merchant. Someone who is of incredible wealth. It’s a simple reminder the Kingdom of Heaven is for everyone. Our bank-balance does not qualify us to find the beautiful prize that is Jesus. Jesus is for all people and in all places. Everyone should have an opportunity to respond to the gospel.
Secondly, you’ll know it when you find it. In both stories they knew when they found something precious. Like an internal reality-check. The worker in the field came across something unexpectedly, whereas the pearl merchant was intentionally out searching for the best deal. But in both stories, the second they laid eyes on that prize the penny dropped. They knew that they had found something precious. If you’re listening to this and you’re a Christian, let your mind wander back to the first time you realised who Jesus was. That first moment when you realised that Jesus was God and he came to bring us close to the one who made all of us. It’s that moment. If you’re listening and you have never had that moment, take a look again at the life of Jesus. Keep listening in to this podcast, come and do Alpha with us or anywhere near you. Jesus is a prize worth pursuing.
Finally, we can end with this. What we can really learn from these two short parables is their response to that revelation moment. One intentionally searched for a pearl and the other unexpectedly found treasure – but they both sold everything in order to get it. In both stories they held nothing back. They went all in. There is no deal to be negotiated. This not a Brexit moment. Everything they had was sold to get that field. The point is this: the Kingdom of Heaven coming into our lives is not a little change. It’s complete transformation. It’s not a bolt-on. It’s not a part-time diet. It’s not a clever access deal. It’s without barrier. It’s full-access. It’s transformation from the inside out. That is what Jesus came to do! He is worthy of that response.
Our lives will look very different when we respond to Jesus this way. And I just want to add this in because at the moment at STC it’s been a joy to hear stories of people coming to faith recently. Young men and women have been finding the pearl of great price through the mid-week groups and through church on Sunday. People are saying yes to following Jesus. It’s beautiful. It is exciting, but today it is also a reminder that when we choose to follow Jesus we choose to lay it all down. He is worth it all.
God thank you for today. We remember our first moment when we knew Jesus was the way, the truth and the life. Would that encourage us today. We thank you for those who are finding faith at the moment. Would you strengthen our faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
READING: Matthew 13:44-58
‘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.
‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
‘Have you understood all these things?’ Jesus asked.
‘Yes,’ they replied.
He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’
When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offence at him.
But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.’
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.