The radical kingdom vision of Jesus emerges constantly in the parables, and Klyne Snodgrass, in his exceptional sourcebook for anyone who wants to study the parables, in Stories with Intent, clears away the accumulation of cleverness that somehow manages to miss the point of the parables. So, our parable today illustrates the radical vision of Jesus:
45 ?Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
After sorting through the background material — the most significant being that pearls were used to signify something of extreme worth, Snodgrass makes insightful observations about the parable of the man seeking pearls.
1. The word “looking,” like Matt 6:33, implies the importance of searching for what is most important and valuable in life.
2. The pearl, under almost any interpretation, represents the redemptive kingdom work of Jesus Christ. The parable teaches the radical value of finding this kingdom.
3. The parable advocates giving up everything in order to enter into the joy of possessing that parable.
Here’s my suggestion: preachers and teachers need to focus more on the supreme worth of the kingdom vision of Jesus. What makes this kingdom so valuable? (What do you think?)