Bible stories : The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure? Jesus had just finished explaining to the disciples the meaning of the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, and these two short parables are a continuance of His discussion of the “kingdom of heaven.” He expressed truths about the kingdom in three pairs of parables in Matthew 13: the seed and the sower (vv. 3-23) and the weeds in the field (vv. 24-30); the mustard seed (vv. 31-32) and the leaven (v. 33); and the hidden treasure (v. 44) and the pearl of great price (vv. 45-46).

The man sold everything he had to buy the field. In the same way, when we seek God, we realize that there’s no earthly riches that are worth our place in His kingdom. When we find our place with God, we gladly sacrifice anything we have, even life, to secure our place with Him for eternity. The man paid everything he had to purchase the field, but the treasure came free. When we seek Jesus, He asks us to give everything to Him and when we choose Jesus, we choose His will over our own, giving everything over to Him. He gives His grace, love, and forgiveness to us freely, although the cost of following Him may be high.

The similarities of these two short parables make it clear they teach the same lesson—the kingdom of heaven is of inestimable value. Both parables involve a man who sold all he had to possess the kingdom. The treasure and the pearl represent Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers. And while we cannot pay for salvation by selling all our worldly goods, once we have found the prize, we are willing to give up everything to possess it. But what is attained in exchange is so much more valuable that it is comparable to trading an ounce of trash for a ton of diamonds (Philippians 3:7-9).

In both parables, the treasures are hidden, indicating that spiritual truth is missed by many and cannot be found by intelligence or power or worldly wisdom. Matthew 13:11-17 and 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, 14 make it clear that the mysteries of the kingdom are hidden from some who are unable to hear, see, and comprehend these truths. The disobedient reap the natural consequences of their unbelief—spiritual blindness. Those whose eyes are opened by the Spirit do discern spiritual truth, and they, like the men in the parable, understand its great value.

Notice that the merchant stopped seeking pearls when he found the pearl of great price. Eternal life, the incorruptible inheritance, and the love of God through Christ constitute the pearl which, once found, makes further searching unnecessary. Christ fulfills our greatest needs, satisfies our longings, makes us whole and clean before God, calms and quiets our hearts, and gives us hope for the future. The “great price,” of course, is that which was paid by Christ for our redemption. He emptied Himself of His glory, came to earth in the form of a lowly man and shed His precious blood on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Discover more details with the The Parable of the Hidden Treasure video on YouTube.

At some point in the future, the kingdom of heaven will be a literal domain where Christ rules. In the interim, the kingdom exists in the hearts of everyone who worships Christ as Lord. We look forward to a glorious reality where followers of Jesus live in the kingdom of heaven, but for now, the kingdom lives within us. In both the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl, Jesus wants us to understand the real value of prioritizing this kingdom above all else. In both parables, the protagonists recognize the treasure they have found and are willing to trade everything they own to possess it.