After the Jews rejected Christ and his kingdom in Matthew 12, Jesus began to preach using parables in order to hide the truth from those who had rejected him. He likens his kingdom to four soils where the seed was sown an also to a field that was sown with good seed but an enemy secretly sowed weeds that look like wheat.
In Mark 8:34-37, Jesus teaches, “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
The two brief parables we are studying today in Matthew 13:44-46 show the incomparable worth of the kingdom of heaven and the sacrificial commitment required of everyone who would enter.
In the first parable (verse 44), we read of a man who found great wealth in a field. The land of Israel is a land bridge connecting 3 continents and because of that location was a place of frequent battles, sieges, and war. In order to protect their valuables from marauding armies, people often buried them in secret places. Many treasures were never retrieved because of death or captivity. The man in the parable was an honest man. He found the treasure and instead of just taking it, he went and purchased the field where he found it. He had to sell all his possessions in order to buy the field but he knew that this treasure was worth it.
The point is that a sinner who understands the priceless riches of the kingdom will gladly yield everything else he cherishes in order to obtain it. In contrast, those who cling to their earthly treasures forfeit the far greater wealth of the kingdom.
The second parable (verses 45-46) tells us of a man who specialized in pearls. Unlike the man in the first parable, he didn’t make his discovery on accident—it was the fruit of a lifelong search! In the ancient world, pearls were the costlier and rarer than gold or precious stones. When Jesus warned against “casting pearls before swine” in Matthew 7:6, he was contrasting the lowest of the unclean animals with the most priceless of possessions.
The kingdom of heaven, like the pearl of great price, is valuable beyond any comparison. It is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:4), but like the treasure in the field, many people pass it up, never knowing it is there.
What Jesus is teaching here is that saving faith retains no privileges. It clings to no cherished sins and no treasured possessions but gives up everything. Saving faith is an unconditional surrender, a willingness to do whatever our Lord commands. Of course, many believers do not fully understand all the ramifications of Jesus’ lordship at the moment of salvation but a true believer will have a growing desire to surrender as the Holy Spirit works in him.
A wise investor generally does not put all his money into a single investment but that is exactly what both of the men in these parables did. Someone who truly believes in Christ has nothing to lose and willingly sacrifices everything for Christ.