I have been asked many times if it is fair that we get to grow up in a Christian home while others do not. The thought goes that if I grew up in a Muslim home would I have the same opportunity given to me to accept Christ? Of course it is not fair that we get to hear the gospel over and over again while others may only hear it once but that is what this passage of Scripture is about.
1) Two ways to discover truth
I said the truth because John 14:6 says that Jesus is the Way,the Truth, and the Life.
The Treasure: Those who have the gospel placed in front of them even though they are not looking for it.
People did not have banks so they would simply bury their wealth in various places so that robbers could not steal from them. What would happen often times is people would die or be run off because of war and then this buried treasure would be left in the ground that no one knew about.
The law of the day stated that any treasure that you found that was not known about by the land owner, could be taken as ones own property. Critics of the Bible say that Jesus was teaching something morally wrong by suggesting the person just cover back up the treasure until they purchased the property. If the person in the story was dishonest they would have just taken the money but instead they went and sold all that he had to purchase the land out right.
Many people would rent out their fields to farmers so this man could have been plowing up the property and came across the treasure. If the treasure was known by the current owner then he would have retrieved the treasure before he sold the land.
Jesus tells this parable to demonstrate that some people are not looking for truth but truth comes and finds them. Just like in John 4 and the woman at the well she came to draw water and encountered Jesus. She was not looking for the truth but the truth is what she heard and the truth is what she received. Those of us who grew up going to church or in a Christian home stumble upon the treasure of salvation daily, but that does not mean we picked it up.
The Pearl: those who search and search until they find the truth
This man would have been a whole sale dealer who was constantly on the search for that special pearl that would be invaluable to him. Diving for pearls was extremely hazardous and men lost their lives trying to retrieve them. Shows like Bearing Sea Gold show some of the hazards they face even with all the advancements in technology we have today.
Pearls were bought as investments similar to how diamonds are today because they were easy to hide and could be concealed for safe keeping.
If you have seen the show American Pickers they to go out and search and search looking for treasure and they do whatever they have to do to get the treasure they really want. They go to great lengths sometimes to get the stuff from the people because they know the worth of it.
1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
On American Pickers they know what they are looking for and so they know the value. For us we see an old rusty bike and think just throw it away. This is the same with people that discern that Christianity is really a priceless pearl and whatever you need to do to attain it is worth the risk physically and financially.
God will always honor someone who is truly seeking the truth and reveal it to them. (Acts 8:26-39, 10, 16:11-15, 17:10-12,)
This is a really important point because I always get asked about the people who are in far away countries that they have no way of discovering the truth.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
2) The Cost of following Christ
They sold all they had
Each person discovered the valuables differently but they each had the same cost.(Everything)
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
This world has a lot to offer us financially and through pleasure but the one thing these things cannot buy, is to bring a loved one back from the dead. Money and pleasure cannot fix a broken heart from lies, deception and selfishness. We get so focused on this life and forget that the very things we are pursuing are not things that will matter in 50 years. The only true joy and happiness will be found in the eternal kingdom and that is exactly the point Jesus is making.
John 15:9-11 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.
What things were written? About the Word of Life Jesus Christ. True life will never be found in the things of this world but only in the Eternal Kingdom of God.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
“The treasure of salvation is not obvious to men, and it is therefore not something they naturally seek. They do not understand why it is so prized by Christians and why some people give up so much – their self-dependency, sinful pleasures, and sometimes even their social, political, and economic freedom and welfare- to gain what seems to be so little. They cannot understand why believers willingly live by standards of ethics and morality that go against man’s deepest drives and lust.” (John MacArthur Commentary on Matthew)
Peoples most treasured possessions are their sins and those are the most difficult for them to part with.
The reason people do not understand Christianity is because they think that those things they are searching for will eventually bring them happiness. In Matthew 19 The rich young ruler had it all but was still searching for more, yet he was not willing to depart from his wealth. This life can be deceptive and lead you down path after path promising you fulfillment only to find that you are just as empty as you were when you started.
We all know that sacrificing today will help us in our tomorrow. You go to school today to give you a better future tomorrow. You eat healthy today for a physically better tomorrow. You do not spend money today so you have more money tomorrow. The difference between the earthly sacrifices we do compared to the eternal sacrifice of following Christ is that the sacrifice for Christ will last for eternity. The sacrifice of following Christ is really no cost at all it is an investment that you will have forever. Just like the one who found the treasure and the pearl knew, it was worth more than the cost.
Luke 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
It took all they had to purchase the treasure and the pearl but they knew whatever sacrifice and hardship it took to attain them was only temporary.
3) The Consequences of your decision
Read Matthew 13: 47-50
Jesus uses fishing to explain what will happen at the end of time. The dragnet would collect all sorts of fish and they would literally drag it up onto shore full of fish. It was there that they would separate the good fish from the bad fish.
For some it is not that they did not see the truth (Treasure) but they thought they could just come back to it later. Every decision we make in life has consequences good or bad. At the end of time there will be a separation of those who received Christ and those who did not. Again Jesus makes a reference to Hell that some people want to dismiss today. There is no possible way to read the teachings of Jesus and believe that all roads lead to Heaven.
The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity by Alex McFarland
80% of all people believe there’s more than one way to get to heaven.
91% of Catholics believe there’s more than one way to get to heaven
68% of Evangelicals Protestants say that a good person of a different religious faith will go to Heaven.
65% of Evangelical Teens say you cannot be sure which religion is right
Jesus spoke on Hell more than He spoke on Love
God is allowing wickedness to continue for now but we can rest assured He will call it to an end one day. God does not want anyone to go to Hell and so He is being patient hoping more hear or find out the truth about how to get into Heaven. John 14:6 is clear that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and we must accept the free gift of salvation to attain entrance into God’s Kingdom. (John 3:16-17)
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The Good Fish
As we mentioned earlier there really is no sacrifice for those who give their lives to Christ because they gain back more than they ever gave up.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
What do you think of when you think of judgment seat of Christ? The word in Greek mean three different things.
A) Courtroom where a judge would hear the grievances and rule upon them.
B) Military term where commander would address and discipline the troops.
C) Podium at Athletic games like we see at the Olympics
Romans 8:1 there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
The good or evil the good fish will be judged on is not sin and righteousness but temporal and eternal.
Have you ever been told you would watch a video in front of everyone up in heaven showing all that you have done?
Because we are forgiven our sins through Christ sacrifice on the cross, we do not have to worry about our sins even being thought of in Heaven. The things we will be judged on are the good things we did for the eternal kingdom that we did for God’s Glory.
1 Corinthians 3:12- 13 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
The things you do for Christ you will have for eternity and although this earth will pass away the things you did in Christ will not.