It was immensely challenging to be a Christian in the Roman Empire during the first century; indeed, Christians faced persecution and even martyrdom. However, they would have been encouraged by one of Jesus’ parables: ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it’, Matthew chapter 13 verses 45-46.
Their opponents were treating them as if they were worthless; however, THE PEARL spoke of their beauty.
THE PEARL IS PRECIOUS – it was the most valuable of all stones in the Roman world and spoke of how precious Christians and the Christian church are to God. Paul tells us, ‘Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her’, Ephesians chapter 5 verse 25. We must be so precious for Him to do this for us!
THE PEARL IS THE PRODUCT OF THE DEEP – the oyster, from whence the pearl comes, is found in the depths of the sea and is an unclean creature, Leviticus chapter 11 verses 9-12; yet,here it is beautiful. Only God can bring a clean thing out of what is unclean.
THE PEARL IS PURCHASED – the merchantman in this parable sold everything he had to purchase us! It is humbling to know that Christ ‘gave HIMSELF’ for us.
THE PEARL CAUSES PAIN AS WELL AS PLEASURE – the formation of a pearl is a painful process for the oyster; it is the oyster’s response to a parasite that enters it and injures it. Christians and the church are God’s answer to what mankind did to His Son when they crucified Him.
THE PEARL IS PERFECT – unlike a diamond, it cannot be worked on by men to make it more beautiful. Repentance toward God and faith in Christ changes us completely and forever!
When you feel discouraged, think of the PEARL and remember how attractive you are to Christ!