The Greatness of the Kingdom

KEY VERSE: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” —Matthew 13:45,46

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:24-30, 37-46

IN THE Scripture reading, we have the record of two important parables of the kingdom related by Jesus. The first pertains to a man who found treasure hidden in a field, and who sold all his possessions in order to raise funds to purchase the field, and thus obtain the treasure. The second tells of a merchant seeking goodly pearls, and upon finding one of great value, he sold all that he had and purchased the pearl.

The pearl of great price, and the hidden treasure, are, according to the parables, of such great value that those fording them do not hesitate to sell everything they have in order to obtain them. The nature of the treasure is not mentioned, but its great value is stressed, and is one of the main points for consideration in both of these parables. No doubt they are intended to convey the thought that these do not relate to earthly blessings, but to the priceless opportunity that is offered to some during the present Gospel Age, of securing a position with Jesus in the rulership of his kingdom. It is what Paul refers to as “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 3:14

This is one of the Bible’s descriptions of the precious kingdom treasure to be obtained by the faithful followers of Jesus, those who are willing that it shall cost them all they have and are. But it should be remembered that Jesus was the first and chief one to gain this treasure, and that it is his example of giving all that his dedicated followers must emulate if they are to share the treasure with hint.

Jesus did indeed give all in order to obtain this treasure. He gave the glory which he had with the Heavenly Father before the world was; and he gave his humanity, his flesh, for the life of the world. As a matter of fact, Jesus was the one who actually purchased the field, and obtained the right to the treasure which it contained. In addition to glory, honor, and immortality, and in addition to attaining the high office of “King of kings, and Lord of lords,” Jesus will have as a treasure his joint-heirs, who will be his ‘bride’ in the kingdom.—Rom. 8:17

And the true followers of Jesus are to share his honor and glory with him on condition that they also give up all that they have. Paul wrote, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”—Phil. 3:7-11

There is one important difference between these two parables: in the first one the man seemingly finds the treasure in the field without specially searching for it; while in the second one, the pearl merchant was seeking goodly pearls. Both of these situations could well illustrate that which is true of those whom the Lord calls to joint-heirship with Jesus.

It is the testimony of many who receive a knowledge of the divine plan, and of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, that they ‘just happened’ to come across it. They ‘happened’ to find a tract under their door, or on the sidewalk. They ‘happened’ to tune in their radio, or their television set, to a truth program. Actually, however, we know that it is by the Lord’s overruling providence that anyone is drawn to the truth and to a knowledge of the heavenly treasures.

On the other hand, there must be an earnest longing to know the Lord and to know his plans and purposes. This could be illustrated by the merchant seeking goodly pearls. “Seek, and ye shall find,” Jesus said. (Matt. 7:7) This is true if the seeking is in sincerity, and the Lord sees in the heart the true spirit of humility and dedication which leads to consecration. The Lord does not call the indifferent, but only the humble searchers after truth and righteousness.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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