Matthew 13:45,46 reads “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it”.
In this short parable we usually apply its lesson to our seeking and finding Jesus and the kingdom of heaven. This is a good way to interpret this parable. Christ is the beautiful pearl of great price. The glory of God is expressed through Jesus. The divinity of Jesus shines throughout the Bible. Christ can satisfy all our needs and longings, today and forever.
To obtain this precious pearl requires that we sell (forsake) all our worldly priorities and put our time and priority into purchasing the heavenly Pearl. (Just like the parable says.) Jesus wants our complete loyalty and attention.
But there is a 2nd way of looking at this parable. And that is that we are the precious pearl that Jesus has spent all to purchase, even by His death on the cross. Jesus sees in everyone a precious gem that He can make beautiful.
Let’s notice how pearls are made. It will give us a clue as to how Jesus can make us beautiful. As you may know, pearls are produced through pain and hardship. What happens is that a grain of sand gets inside an oyster. The sand becomes an irritation to the oyster, which then will produce a substance (nacur) to cover the grain of sand. It does this not once but many times.
So this results in layers around the sand which produce a pearl. Without the irritating sand it would never happen. Likewise, through our trials and hardships, Jesus can produce in us a beautiful character reflecting His. But it requires our trusting in Him during these hardships and cooperating with the Holy Spirit to be able to produce this beautiful change.
We can all remember, I’m sure, a difficult experience in our life, when only by Jesus’ love and strength were we able to get through it. And we were made stronger and better for it, strengthening our character. Jesus knows what we can become, if we cooperate with Him. We are valuable to Him because He created us and died for us. Malachi 3:17 says we become His jewels when we give our lives to Jesus. He can make us shine for Him. So we need to look at others as Jesus does, precious jewels still being developed, or as someone has said “diamonds in the rough”.
We are all diamonds in the rough at the beginning of our spiritual life. But through trials and hardships, and holding on in faith to Jesus, God will polish us into a gem. And then our true value is seen. So, let’s all recognize how precious and valuable we are to God. All heaven was given in our behalf, so that we can become pearls of great price.