Anglican Morning Devotion for 1 November 2021 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches Worldwide
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
This is yet another Parable of the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, the 13th chapter of Matthew is known as the Kingdom chapter since each of its seven prime parables describe some feature of the Kingdom of Heaven. This present parable of the pearl gives a special illustration of the Kingdom. Why did the merchant man not seek diamonds or rubies – why pearls, and what feature of pearls would best describe the Kingdom of Heaven?
The pearl is a precious stone that is the product of a living organism. No other precious stone is so composed though the less precious coral could qualify. The Kingdom of Heaven, too, will be comprised of the formerly living saints on earth but now eternally living in Heaven.
The luster of the pearl is formed from a tiny impurity, such as a grain of sand, that enters its host which then, in irritation, covers the impurity with its tears. It is perhaps for this reason that the gates of the city of God are made of pearl. This could represent the tears of the saints martyred for Christ.
The pearl is, without the applied labor of man’s art, is beautiful in its own nature. Its soft glow and nature of formation symbolizes innocence of an injury turned to beauty. It stands for the triumph of purity over impurity, of good over evil.
The pearl belongs to the living owner. It is a growing, living thing from the beginning of its formation resembling the life of the saint here and in the hereafter.
For a lover of pearls, this pearl of the Parable is an especially large and beautiful gem – priceless in its value and found among the common resources of nature. It is a Pearl of Great Price and Value.
There are many excellent interpretations of this Parable, and there are points of beauty in each. One common interpretation is that the Pearl is the wisdom and knowledge of God as provided in the Redeemer. Surely, such a knowledge and wisdom of the divine source of salvation is worth more than all the riches of the world combined. One who came into the possession of such certain knowledge would be willing to sacrifice all, including his life, for its purchase. But I most prefer another interpretation that is centered upon the Lord Jesus Christ in searching out that which is hidden to the eyes of mortal man – the souls of lost men. I believe it is a valid interpretation because Christ seeks out the lost lamb on the barren rocks of the mountain slopes. He is ever seeking that which was lost. He knows His sheep as the merchant of gems knows his product. When He comes into the possession of the soul that He seeks and values highly, He pays the ultimate and maximum price for its possession – His very life.
“17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:17-23)
Concluding points: The merchant, like Christ, knows that for which he is seeking. He knows where to find his treasure and he is willing to pay the ultimate cost of its possession. Like the merchant, Christ has purchased His own at great price. Each pearl, or soul, to Christ is one of great price and once taken into His possession, is forever secure in His keeping. Each such pearl to Christ is as good as the only one of its kind in all the world.
Having been purchased at such a cost, should we not highly cherish our salvation as the greatest value of anything in Heaven or earth?