Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Friday is for Friends

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?)

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posted June 27, 2008 at 5:28 am

Therein lies fullness, completeness, ultimate purpose, perfection, abundance, and every other positive superlative one can think of–in a word, life, even eternal, abundant life. The King is in His Kingdom–and this limitless life is to know the King. Jn.17:3.

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posted June 27, 2008 at 6:20 am

I believe the value of the kingdom lies in its abliity to transend our petty arguments and self-seeking motives. It can really bring people together from many walks of life. I think it really calls for us to give up and let God’s dream for the world take center stage.

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posted June 27, 2008 at 6:58 am

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, to live the life of the Kingdom, in His Presence and power, to follow Jesus–not just as an example to admire from afar, but an example to pursue–His character and power.

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posted June 27, 2008 at 7:17 am

What makes the kingdom and kingdom vision so valuable? It transforms the world and it transforms our perception of the world. We unite with a vision that is enduring and transcendent – not limited to our local finite existence. Isn’t it the power of the kingdom vision that impels many who do not hold to orthodox Christianity to retain an identity as “Christian”?

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John Frye

posted June 27, 2008 at 7:19 am

Scot, penetrating question!
The kingdom invites us into life that is personally and communally/societally the way it’s supposed to be. Only in the kingdom is human life truly and fully experienced…in its current now/not yet expressions.
Sadly, many, many USAmerican evangelicals have lowered their vision from the pearl to the ‘American dream.’

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Michelle Van Loon

posted June 27, 2008 at 7:22 am

Kingdom preaching expands our vision miles beyond the task-oriented here-and-now messages about how to fix our finances, our kids, our marriages and our churches. It infuses the here-and-now with eternity.

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Travis Greene

posted June 27, 2008 at 9:50 am

The kingdom is simply the only thing that is going to last. And it’s worth giving up, or at least being willing to give up, many things that are inherently good, to seek the greatness of the kingdom. That may be the hardest part of the parable.

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posted June 27, 2008 at 9:52 am

I agree with John Frye. I believe that while wisdom is understanding life the way God intended it to be, the Kingdom is the manifestation of life the way God intended it to be.
To live life outside of the Creator’s intention for life is really no life at all. The value of the Kingdom surpasses and even transcends anything that might be considered valuable of this temporal age.

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Jim Martin

posted June 27, 2008 at 1:46 pm

I can’t answer this any better than John Frye just did. A nice explanation.
(By the way, I plan to work through parts of STORIES WITH INTENT during July. I look forward to it.)

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Doug Wilson

posted June 27, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Scot: I agree…we “need to focus more on the supreme worth of the kingdom vision of Jesus.”
Reminds me of the words of Dallas Willard:
“The real question is, How do you do ?evangelism-discipleship?? My short answer: You ravish people with the blessings of the Kingdom. You make them hungry for it. That?s why words are so important ? we must be wordsmiths. You use words to ravish people with the beauty of the kingdom. It?s the beauty of the kingdom that Jesus said was causing people to climb over each other just to get in. People become excited like the pearl-purchaser ? they will give everything to get in.”
But I was also wondering…are you familiar with the suggestion (I thought it was George Ladd’s, but can’t verify that) that the pearl represents us, the ones who are “of great value” to God, and the purchaser, who “sold everything he had and bought it,” is Jesus?
Based partly on the verbal connection of the verb “bought” with 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (“You are not your own; you were bought at a price”) and Revelation 5:9 (?You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”)

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Scot McKnight

posted June 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm

I’ve seen that view; Klyne Snodgrass examines the thesis and finds it a bit fanciful.

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posted June 27, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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