Parables of Jesus


Parables of the kingdom

Common name of the parable:
The Pearl

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The pearl of great value

From the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 13, Verses 45-46

The kingdom of heaven is also similar to a merchant who goes in search of precious pearls; found a pearl of great value, he goes, sells all his possessions and buys it.

Parable exegesis Matthew

In Matthew's Gospel the parable of the "pearl of great value" can be considered a twin to that of the "treasure in the field". Pearls in the Old Testament had a considerable value, were associated with gold and were sometimes considered even more precious than gold.

The parable tells of a merchant who goes to different places to find pearls. He finds a pearl of great value, but he is not surprised by the pearl itself, because he is constantly looking for beautiful pearls, but of the immense value of what he has found.

Now he wants to collect all the money necessary to buy the pearl he discovered, he sells everything he owns, his possessions, the other pearls he had acquired in his research, the work tools, pack animals, wagons and so on.

Unlike the parable of the treasure in the field, this one does not mention the joy of discovery. And while in the previous one the discovery happens by pure chance, here the merchant is to be considered a person of a serious and conscientious temperament, who looks for what, in fact, he finds, even if what he finds exceeds all his most rosy expectations. The pearl of great value is comparable to the kingdom, to tell the truth, the kingdom reaches the one who seeks it, finding it, exceeds any expectation one might have since it is about salvation.

Here the two parables have different nuances and highlight different aspects of human experience. In fact, some individuals experience the appearance of the kingdom of heaven in an unexpected way; one could say that they are taken by surprise. Others, as in the parable of the pearl of great value, seriously commit themselves, devote years of their lives and considerable resources, in seeking the ultimate meaning of their life.

Obviously, there is no guarantee that the search will be fruitful, but if you come to find that kingdom of heaven, of which Jesus speaks, you get more than you can imagine.

Jesus addresses the parable, reported by the evangelist Matthew, to his disciples and serves as a warning that every disciple should commit himself to the kingdom at the expense of his family and his belongings.

The parable, therefore, invites the disciple to an absolute dedication that goes beyond the present. With a drastic gesture, he must get rid of everything he has to buy the pearl. He must continue to live in the world without absorbing the fallacious values, but concentrating his commitment on Jesus, on justice, on the kingdom, because it is about eternal life.

The precious pearl must be sought with great study, commitment. And if at times the messianic kingdom comes as if by chance without men having sought it, in others one must struggle to get to know it and to possess it.