Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Kingdom of God - the Pearl

By Hayley Boud
In Mathew 13:45, the Kingdom of God is referred to as a precious pearl which the merchant was prepared to sell everything he had in order to purchase it. 
Does anyone have any ideas about this?  Why does the Bible refer to the Kingdom of God as a pearl?
Some think of the pearl as representing Jesus Christ and how precious He is and how precious salvation and the Kingdom of God is.  Others think of the pearl as representing us and how precious we are that God would send His only Son to die for us so that we might enter the Kingdom of God. 
Where is the Kingdom of God?  Wherever God’s throne is, that is where He reigns.  If He reigns in you…then you have the Kingdom of God inside of you.
What is a pearl?  A pearl is created by a foreign body irritating the shellfish to coat the annoyance with “nacre”. Layer upon layer of nacre creates a beautiful pearl.  The foreign body can no longer be seen, it has been transformed.  This is like the Kingdom of God; the difficulties we face create a beautiful pearl inside us. 
It is also interesting that the shellfish that creates the pearl is made of soft tissue and also interesting that the shellfish is alive.  We have to be made alive spiritually before we can create something spiritually beautiful in us.  Without the Holy Spirit we can do nothing and it requires God working in us to create the kingdom of God, a beautiful pearl in us.  It also requires us to be soft, not hard.  When we face difficult people or hard situations we have to remain soft and not allow the problems to make us become hardened like Pharaoh who hardened his heart.
Also, the thinner and more numerous the layers of nacre, the better looking the pearl, the shinier it will be so the more problems we face, the shinier we become.  The more difficulties we overcome, the more likely people will see the beauty of the kingdom of God in us and the more our light will shine.  Therefore, when we are tested we can praise God because He is creating the Kingdom of God in us which is so precious that the merchant would sell everything he had to buy it.
We don’t appreciate the value of the pearl today because we can culture them but when that scripture was written, the people of that time would have understood it more clearly.  To find a naturally growing pearl inside an oyster is so rare that the pearl in those times was the most valuable gem.  It’s pretty much invaluable = you can’t really put a price on it.  Of course someone can put a price on it by saying, “I’d pay this much for it” but would the owner be ready to sell it?  It’s so amazing to find a naturally occurring pearl that you wouldn’t want to part with it.
That is the same with the Kingdom of God, once you have found such a gift, you will do anything to keep it.  You won’t sell it because it is too valuable and no one can put a price on it.
The more reflective the pearl, the greater it’s worth.  When choosing a pearl, you try to find the one that reflects your image, like a mirror.  We know that the mirror we have as Christians is the Word of God and we have to look at the mirror to see our own reflection and ask ourselves, does it match up.  When I look in the mirror, I raise my hand and the reflection follows.  When I read the Bible, do I follow it?  Do I mirror the Word of God?  If we don’t reflect the Kingdom of God in our way of living, no one will be attracted to the Kingdom of God. 
Also, our lives should be lived in such a way that people will be able to see their own reflection in us.  They will look at us and compare themselves and know if they have the Kingdom of God or not.  If we are living a fuzzy life, they won’t be able to see themselves clearly in the same way a fuzzy pearl won’t show your true reflection.  If we are living one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom of God, those around us won’t be able to see themselves clearly and they won’t know if they are not saved.  They might think they are safe and going to heaven because Hayley is a Christian and she goes to night clubs, or Hayley smokes, or Hayley drinks etc.  We need to be a good example for those around us and reflect the image of Christ. 
It is easy to tell the difference between a fake pearl and a real pearl and this is also true of fake/genuine Christians.  Non-christians can tell the difference.  I can remember one time mum saying to dad, “She shouldn’t behave like that if she is a Christian” and dad said, “Yeah, but she’s not a Christian like Hayley’s a Christian”.  Meaning that dad could tell that the person mum was talking about was a fake Christian even though he wasn’t an expert in the matter.
Pearls are extremely hard and cannot be easily destroyed.  The only thing that can destroy them is vinegar.  Vinegar will dissolve a pearl and I thought vinegar could represent bitterness.  Remember it is the softness of a person which creates the beauty of the Kingdom of God in us but if we allow problems we face to create bitterness in us, to make us sour, the pearl will be dissolved and no one will see that beauty anymore…just an ugly mess.  When we become bitter, the Kingdom of God cannot be seen, the only thing seen is an ugly person and no one is attracted to a bitter, sour person.
Rev 21:21, the 12 gates of New Jerusalem are made of a single pearl.  This reminds us of the suffering that Christ had to endure in order for us to enter the Kingdom of God in the same way an oyster suffers in order to produce the pearl…Christ had to suffer to produce the Kingdom of God filled with Christian believers.
Mathew 7:6, “Do not throw your pearls to the pigs”






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