By Evan Pyle

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field;
the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)


When I read this parable I have always had a meaning in mind. How about you? When you read this verse, what interpretation springs to mind? To my thinking this parable spoke of the value of Christ to the lost soul. When I “found” Christ I recognized his treasure as so great that I turned away from all of my other interests so I might have this great treasure in my life. This always seemed a reasonable, if not totally satisfying, interpretation to me. The problem is, I never “found” Christ. He “found” me and revealed himself to me. And did I then turn away from all else to follow him? Well, not quite!

The parable that follows received a similar interpretation:

Matthew 13:45-46:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Again, what does this mean? Am I the merchant? Is Christ the pearl of great price? In a word, no. Does that surprise you? See what the following verse has to say.

Exodus 19:5:
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

God’s people are referred to, by him, as a peculiar (meaning unique) treasure. Is this possible... that we are God’s treasure?

Psalm 135:4:
For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8:
For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Do you see what the Lord is telling those of us who are Israelites by faith? (Gal. 3:28-29) That we are God’s unique treasure. According to the parable we, the Church, are like a unique and valuable treasure hidden buried in a field. If you think like me you will find this difficult to take in. The Lord considered me a unique and valuable treasure before I even knew him. He saw me this way when I blasphemed his holy name and was completely sinful in all my ways... when I was by nature a child of wrath.

This treasure was deemed by God to be of such value that he “for joy went and sold all that he had in order to buy the whole field. But why did he buy the entire field? Just so he could have that one unique treasure buried there. Yes, he gave all that he had... his only begotten Son.

John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God gave Jesus for the sins of the whole world, not just the Church.

1 John 2:2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 Peter 1:18-19:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

This is a love that is beyond my human comprehension. It causes me to want to bow before him in weeping thankfulness for his unsurpassed love and the agonizing pain God endured in offering up his only begotten.

1 John 4:10:
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

What about the interpretation of Matthew’s next parable?

Matthew 13:45-46:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

This parable is a restatement of the preceding one. We, the Church, are the pearl of great price. God’s price he paid for this gem? All that he had, his Only-Begotten.

Malachi 3:17:
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

This still begs the question, how can God consider me a treasure, a precious pearl? Doesn’t he have everything? How could he possibly need us, and for what purpose?

1 Peter 2:9:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

As God’s peculiar and unique treasure we are to show forth his praises. God even calls us, the Church, his inheritance. (Imagine God needing an inheritance!)

Ephesians 1:18:
The 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,

The Father did not place these truths in his Word so we could puff up with self-importance. Rather, they engender in us humility, thankfulness and an utter dependence on him to grow us into Christ’s likeness... to put a “polish” on the Church so that She is indeed a “unique treasure” and a “pearl of great price.”

2 Corinthians 4:7:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.




From the April 2001 issue of The Vine & Branches