Worth Losing Everything: The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Value

We shall now study two parables—the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Value. What is the Kingdom of God like? Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is like a hidden treasure. The Kingdom of God is also like a priceless pearl. A hidden treasure is very valuable. A pearl of great price is obviously immensely valuable. Thus, these two parables teach about the immense value of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is infinitely valuable, precious, and priceless. The rule of God is invaluable, inestimable, and incalculable. In short, the Kingdom of God is worth more than anything. We learn two things about the Kingdom of God in these two parables.

The Rule of God is So Valuable That Losing Everything You Have to Gain It is Worth It

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt. 13:44).[1] Jesus says that the Kingdom is like a treasure. In those days, people did not have banks to keep their money. They did not have safety deposit boxes to secure their papers. They did not have jewelry boxes to protect their jewels. One way to keep their treasures is to bury it into the ground. At the time, it is always safe to hide treasures in the soil.

But the owner may go out of town. If he fails to return, the possessions would remain in the ground.

The country of Israel has seen many wars. In times of war, people would hide their treasures in the ground. At times, the owners would not survive the war. Nobody knows about the treasure unless someone finds it.

Now anyone who finds treasure in the land rightfully owns it. Today, if you find money on the road, you get to keep it. In those days, if you find buried treasure, you get to keep it. You own it only by “lifting” the buried valuables.[2]

Usually, a laborer of the field would find treasure there. The problem is that the owner may claim it also. He will claim that his laborer only acted as his agent.

What will the laborer do? He will buy the land first; and then claim the buried treasure.

In the parable, the man does not obviously own the field. So he decides to hide the treasure. Then joyfully, he goes and sells all that he has and buys the field.

The point of the parable is that the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, is like a hidden, priceless treasure. It is very valuable. It is worth more than anything. You realize that the rule of God is worth losing everything, so that you can gain it.

Jesus is not saying that you pay your way into the Kingdom. Jesus is saying, rather, that the Kingdom is so precious, that you are willing to lose everything to gain it. The Kingdom is so valuable, that you will count all things worthless for the Kingdom. The rule of God is worth everything that losing everything in order to gain Christ is worth it.

That is the point of the parable of the hidden treasure.

Note that the treasure is free for his taking. The man did not pay for the treasure. It is free. But he had to sell all that he has in order to buy the field. He had to buy the field in order to get the treasure. The treasure is free. But it cost him everything.

Similarly, the kingdom of God, the rule of God, is free. The grace of God is free. But it will cost you everything. It will cost you your family. You will have to suffer for Jesus’ sake. It will cost you your favorite sins. You will have to forsake your sins. It will cost you your favored status. You will have to endure ridicule for following Jesus. It will cost you your finances. You will have to give your money to God as a sign of your worship and commitment.

But don’t worry—you will gain what you will lose. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

If you study Matthew, the emphasis of Matthew is perfection. You must be perfect in order to find treasure in heaven. What is perfection to Matthew? Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matt. 19:21). To be perfect in Matthew is to go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

That is perfection according to Matthew. It is the act of losing everything for Christ. The rule of God requires losing everything for Christ. Jesus said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a       hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).

That is the point of the parable of the hidden treasure. The Kingdom of God, the rule of Christ, is worth everything that sacrificing everything to gain Christ is worth it.


[1] All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, is taken from the New King James Version (NKJV).

[2] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (PNTC; ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 359.

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One thought on “Worth Losing Everything: The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Value

  1. I think that the pearl/treasure might actually be Christ’s Church. We don’t have what it takes. Who gave up everything that was important to him? God himself who gave up his son. God redeemed us at the cost of his only beloved son. Yes, we must give up everything also, however, all we really can do is be repentant sinners while our man of sin is being put to death within us. I certainly could be wrong. Here are my thoughts on the subject: http://www.lampofthebody.com/50-the-parables-of-the-hidden-treasure-and-the-pearl.html

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