By Wayne Jackson
(Christian Courier – https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1564-value-of-the-kingdom-of-heaven-the)
As the Lord’s ministry progressed, the hostility of the Jewish leaders intensified. Accordingly, at a certain point in time, Jesus began to teach in parables.
Christ’s parables were human stories with a heavenly meaning. Their design was two-fold. First, his parables effectively communicated divine truths to those who were honest of heart.
Second, the story form concealed those truths from those who would abuse them, and thus seek the Savior’s death prematurely (Matt. 13:13ff).
In Matthew 13, there is a collection of seven parables which are intended to emphasize certain important spiritual concepts which God’s people need to appreciate.
Among these parables are two which are strikingly similar; and yet, they have a significant difference as well. These are the parables of “the hidden treasure,” and that of “the pearl of great price.” These one-sentence parables read as follows:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matt 13:44, 45).
Similarities Between the Two Parables
First, let us consider several similarities that are common to both of these narratives.
Initially we are struck with the fact that both of these parables deal with the kingdom of heaven. The term kingdom is employed in a variety of ways in the New Testament. It can refer to the reign of God over his people under the Mosaic system (Matt. 21:43). And it is used of the final abode of the saints, i.e., heaven itself (2 Tim. 4:18).
Frequently, however, “kingdom” simply denotes the church (Matt. 16:18-19; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:6,9). Clearly, it is this latter sense to which the Lord alludes in the collection of “kingdom” parables of Matthew 13.
Jesus is thus teaching some great truths relative to the church which he would presently establish (Matt. 16:18).
Second, the exceeding great value of the kingdom is seen in that it is compared to both a treasure and a pearl of great price.
The Kingdom: Its Value
Let us reflect upon some of the aspects of the marvelous value of the Master’s kingdom.
The Price of the Kingdom
The kingdom is of inestimable value because it cost the Son of God his very life. Jesus gave his blood to purchase the church (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). In view of this, how could anyone ever minimize the Lord’s spiritual body? And yet it is done all the time by denominationalists who allege that the church is but one of those spiritual “options” in the divine scheme of things.
The Purpose of the Kingdom
The kingdom is a treasure because it represents the state of salvation. Observe the following line of argument. Salvation is to be found “in Christ” (2 Tim. 2:10).
Being “in” the Lord is equivalent to being “in [the] one body” (Eph. 2:15-16). But being in “the one body is the same as being in the church (Eph. 1:22-23), which, in fact, is the kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19). Those saved, therefore, constitute the kingdom (cf. Eph. 5:26), and those who reject citizenship in Christ’s kingdom are viewed as the Lord’s “enemies” (Luke 19:14, 27).
How very tragic it is that so many utterly disdain the kingdom, claiming that it bears no relationship to the matter of redemption.
The Peace of the Kingdom
The kingdom is a treasure because it affords an environment wherein one may find peace with God and with himself.
There are those in our society who would give all their earthly possessions for one day’s sense of peace. It simply cannot be purchased. But justification, by means of Heaven’s “faith,” system can yield a profound sense of peace (Rom. 5:1; cf. John 16:33).
Note this word of consolation from Paul:
bq. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).
True peace is not based upon superficial emotionalism; rather, it is grounded in a solid, biblically based relationship with the Lord.
The People of the Kingdom
There are thousands of people in our great cities who seem not to have a solitary kinsman or friend in all the realm of their associations.
I once conducted a funeral service wherein no one was present but himself, the deceased, and two others. So many lonely souls are utterly without companionship.
Consider, though, the precious blessing of all the kinsmen we have in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Lord taught that those who follow him have “houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children…” (Mark 10:31). No one can put a price tag on this sort of companionship.
These things, and others too numerous to count, are a part of the treasures to be found in the kingdom of heaven. Let us never depreciate it.
(The second part of this article will appear in the next issue of the Christian Message)