Matthew 13:44-46. 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
These two little “kingdom parables” taught by Jesus are usually interpreted this way:
We are the man who finds the treasure, and we are the merchant who finds the pearl of great value. The treasure and the pearl are the kingdom of God. Our response? Sell all you have and buy that field. Sell all you have and buy that pearl. In other words, give up your life for the kingdom. Give your life to Jesus.
Give your life to Jesus?
This sounds really great, but is this the gospel? Is this how salvation works? Is this how our union with Christ works? Is Jesus a hidden treasure? Buried in the ground quietly waiting to be found by adventurous humans, seeking God’s truth and love? Is Jesus a passive pearl just waiting to be discovered?
Or is Jesus the treasure seeking man? The pearl finding merchant?
These two parables in Matthew 13 sit among several other kingdom parables. And in every other one Jesus is the man who is acting, and we are the passive objects. Jesus sows the seed; we are the soil. Jesus reaps the harvest; we are the wheat. Jesus is the man planting a mustard seed and the woman adding leaven to flour. In fact, in every other parable in all the Gospels, Jesus is the one acting. He is the prime mover.
Do you know why?
Because we don’t find Jesus, Jesus finds us. We don’t give our lives to Jesus, Jesus gives his life to us. We don’t purchase Jesus, Jesus purchases us.
When seen this way, these two parables become something far better, far more life changing. Instead of us figuring out how to “sell all you have” and then “purchase Christ,” now we can rest in the love of Christ that compelled him to sell all he has and purchased us. When Jesus is the treasure seeking man, when he is the merchant, that make us the treasure. We’re the pearl of great value!
Jesus Christ gave up everything he had to purchase and redeem you. He made an eternal investment in order to be unified to your life. He gave up being only God and became the God-man in order to share with you his own eternal life. He gave up everything so that he could possess you as his treasure. And he did it all with great joy.
Hebrews 12:2. looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
And so now we can see our lives in a whole new way. We are the beloved treasure of God that brings him great joy. We are the precious pearl worth giving up everything for. We don’t spend our day thinking how can I love Christ? We spend it thinking how has Christ loved me? We don’t continually ponder, what can I do for Jesus today? Instead, we ponder what Jesus has done for us. We now understand that “to live is Christ” is much more about how Christ has given his life to us, than it is about how we can give our lives to Christ.
And when we begin here, accepting that we are the treasure of God, the pearl of God, then, we will rejoice in being found. We will leap because we are loved. We will treasure Christ because he first treasured us. We will give up everything for others, because Jesus first gave up everything for us.
“To live is Christ” is learning to be Christ’s treasure, and then learning to treasure Christ in that same way. It is living in the understanding that God gave up everything for you and for me. Even his own life. It is seeing that God is obsessed with you, and would go to any lengths to have you. Living for you. Dying for you. And even living in you. Forever securing his treasure as his own.
Do you see yourself as the treasure that God obsesses over?
You in Christ
In Christ you are his prized possession, his great treasure. How does knowing this melt your hard heart today?
Christ in you
How does knowing Christ sacrificed everything for you allow you to sacrifice for others?
Playlist: Treasure Songs (there are few songs about how Christ treasures us so I have mostly included songs about us treasuring Christ – the result of Christ treasuring us.)