Anglican Morning Devotion for 6 September 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion 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)
This chapter of Matthew from which this parable is taken is called the Kingdom Chapter because there are seven parables describing the Kingdom of Heaven contained therein, this parable of the Pearl of Great Price being the sixth.
A Pearl is beautiful in its natural setting and the only stone that is not improved at the hands of the jeweler. A Pearl is formed when a tiny grain of sand or other irritant enters between the shell and mantle of the Oyster creating an irritation. The living oyster begins to secrete a substance called nacre, or tears, to cover the irritant and make it less of a bother to the oyster. It takes an extended period of time to form the Pearly b this gradually thickening coat of concentric layers which form around the irritant. The Pearl is the only gem formed by a living organism.
The spherical Pearl becomes a lustrous, iridescent gem of great beauty. Some have compared the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price to wisdom imbued by the Word of God. Others say this is the state of salvation resulting from a wise search for knowledge. Still others have rightly compared the pearl to our Lord Jesus Christ since He is the only Son of God begotten, not made, and having the same substance and Mind of the Father. In a sense, I believe all three comparisons to be correct. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) In many churches, lost men and women are urged to make a proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ whom they may yet not know; but proclamation of faiths must be made out of a sure knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and King. Words uttered without understanding are empty and meaningless. The Holy Ghost uses the Word of God to draw men to Christ. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) It is for this reason that we have catechism classes for those seeking to follow Christ.
How do we acquire the wisdom of the Holy? Just as the Pearl is formed by layer upon layer, so is the wisdom and knowledge of God formed by a growing understanding of the Lord who is the Incarnation of the Word. “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:9-10)
This wisdom growing out of a fear of God leads straight to the most important figure wisdom can reveal to the wise – the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is indeed the Pearl of Great Price!
In the study of a friend of mine, now gone to His Maker, was a plaque mounted on the wall that read: “The man who has much wealth, and Jesus Christ, has no more than the one who has Christ alone.” This is a true saying though not so obvious perhaps at first glance. There is no possession we can own that compares to the grandeur, majesty, and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. The wisdom that leads us to Christ is likewise invaluable. That wisdom, too, is of the same incomparable value as that Pearl of Great Price. For such a possession, a wise man would divest himself of every other worldly possession to obtain it. “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.”(Proverbs 2:1-9) The value of the knowledge of the Holy is beyond comparison: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. * 14For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.” (Proverbs 3:13-15) Pure and unadulterated wisdom is this: to know Christ! “For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (Proverbs 8:13-15; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)