A Tale of Two Parables: Jesus, What’s the Kingdom of Heaven Like Unto?

If you found the thing that was most valuable to you in the WHOLE universe, would you sell all you had to possess it?

Matthew 16:26 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Jesus was recorded using parables in the New Testament gospels. Why is that? His disciples wondered and asked the same thing as we can read in Matthew 13. In verses 10, 11, and 13, it reads, “Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

Jesus used parables to teach the masses because their minds were not illuminated. They were unable to understand clearly whatever Jesus would explicitly state about the kingdom of heaven. They were comparable to children who ask their parents where babies come from. And because the mother is aware of their mental capabilities, she tells them the story about the Birds and the Bees and maybe tells them the story about the storks who carry babies down from heaven in a white sheet. Because young children do not understand about adolescence, sex organs, reproductive systems, intercourse, and gestational periods, they need a type of parable to give them an answer that will suffice. Even if you were to explain in great detail everything about how babies are born, young children still will not grasp everything. Even if you show them videos or photos – God forbid – they will not comprehend.  So just as Jesus stated in Matthew 13:13, seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear or understand. Everyone cannot receive all information in as is condition, so preachers – like Jesus – will sometimes use parables to make it understandable.

Things in the spiritual realm are not easily discerned by people who are only aware of the natural realm. So Jesus was so kind as to give the people an idea of what finding the kingdom of heaven would be like. He was new on the scene trying to explain to them what was soon to occur. He was trying to prepare them to receive the gospel. And so He used earthly situations that they could relate to. And what human does not know about treasure and pearls? Even if you have not personally possessed them, you’ve heard of them. We all know about jewelry, precious stones, and pearls.

Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven can be somewhat compared to a treasure that is hidden in a field. And when a man has stumbled upon and discovered it, he covers it up again to prevent anyone else from discovering and taking it from him. He’s very excited about this abandoned or forgotten treasure he has found! He is overjoyed. He then flees the field in order to go and sell EVERYTHING in his possession to get enough money to buy this field. And the reason he buys the field is not because he values the field, but rather in order to have rights to that treasure. If the treasure is on his property, it is now rightfully his.

I love this parable. I love it because it reminds me of what it is like when someone discovers Jesus as his/her Savior for the first time! They are super-excited and zealous about it. They forsake themselves to take up their cross and follow Him. Of everything they previously owned – even all of it COMBINED – nothing was considered worth the price of their newly attained salvation. It didn’t matter if this man had these things for years. Didn’t matter to him if they were a gift from his beloved, deceased mother or his young children. Didn’t matter if it was something he had to save up for years to buy. It didn’t matter. Keep in mind that He was not buying the treasure box, he sold all he had just to buy the field! If you find a hidden treasure, couldn’t you just steal it and enjoy it whilst you also keep all that you have at home? Not with this man in the parable. This man sold all he had just to get the field just to get the treasure.

Philippians 3:7-8 – But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I COUNT ALL THINGS BUT LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ

This parable kind of reminds me of how some men will joke around about beautiful woman and say they would marry her sister just to get in her family. They are saying this woman’s beauty is so astounding that you would marry someone you didn’t even want just to get the chance to be around her. Also reminds me of the other joke where men say that a woman is so fine that he’d be content with just drinking her bathwater. Again, the man is saying that He appraises her value so high that he would it a privilege even to be able to drink the water that contains her dirt! Sounds desperate, sure, but if you knew the value of the kingdom of heaven and the inheritance promised to the Saints, you’d be desperate too!

One of the lessons this parable is this: You cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven with all your worldly, earthly treasures. You will have to give up the things of this world that you used to value in order to attain the things of God. The implications this parable has for you as someone who wants to become a believer is this: Are you willing to give up the things of the secular world in order to attain something of great value? Read the passage below to see what Jesus required of a rich, young man who claimed to value the kingdom of heaven:

Mark 10:17-23 – And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him…You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

So as we see, Jesus was not just talking just to hear himself talk in the parable. Mark 10 actually shows that the parable reflects truth! This rich, young man was unwilling to give up temporary, earthly treasure in order to attain what he CLAIMED he really wanted regardingly eternal, heavenly treasure. He was willing to live holy, but not willing to lose those possessions of his. And he walked away sadly because he knew that hell would be his home.

Let’s read a similar parable that Jesus spoke right after He told them the treasure parable.

Matthew 13:45-46 – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

In this parable, Jesus now compares the kingdom of heaven to a man who is in search of fine pearls. Let’s assume that he’s on the beach and at the street markets looking for some really good pearls. And during his search, he spots this ONE pearl that is worth very much. He tells the salesman to put the pearl on hold while he runs home to get all his possessions in order to buy it.

Imagine that! To make that parable relevant to women in today’s time, imagine that early one morning, you’re going shopping for some nice clothes. You hit up all the malls and boutiques to find some cute new outfits. Then you visit this new clothing store. You see this dress on display that is absolutely MUST HAVE! LITERALLY! So you run in and ask the saleslady if they have it in your size. They say that your size is the only size they have. And they say that it’s the only dress like it because it was hand-made. So you flip over the price tag and GASP! The dress is WAAAAY outside of your budget. The cost of this dress is actually the combined value of everything you own. So without hesitation, you tell her to hold the dress for you behind the counter. (You don’t want anyone else coming in to get your dress!) You dash out of the store to empty out your checking account and savings account. You run home and get all your electronics and jewelry and pawn them all. Then you return home and have an Everything-Must-Go type of estate sale.

You then collect all the money you have and tell the saleslady, “I’m back for the dress.”

THAT’S what the kingdom of heaven is like for the true believer. It is worth losing EVERYTHING we previously valued or enjoyed. If you’re still yearning for the things of your past, make sure that you’re remembering that it was all considered dung compared to what you gained in Christ. And since this lady now has nothing left, she never takes this dress off. I don’t ever want to take off my salvation clothes. They’re all I have! I gave the world back everything it had to offer because I found something of great value in my Jesus. I’m never taking this off!

Luke 11:9 – “…seek, and you will find…”

This parable merchant was already in search of good pearls, and he found a great pearl. The bible says to seek and ye shall find. He sought, and he found. The only end result to seeking according Luke 11:9 is finding. Some people are seeking after God; they will all find Him if they are sincerely seeking. If you lose a quarter in your bedroom, I guarantee you that if you keep looking, you will find it (being that quarters don’t have legs with which to run off). And f no one has stolen it (and can’t nobody steal God), then God is still where He can be found. The kingdom of heaven is waiting for you to surrender all in order to enter in.

Mark 8:34-37 – And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him  deny himself and  take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?

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3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Parables: Jesus, What’s the Kingdom of Heaven Like Unto?

  1. Reblogged this on Welcome to Joppa Road and commented:
    “Things in the spiritual realm are not easily discerned by people who are only aware of the natural realm. So Jesus was so kind as to give the people an idea of what finding the kingdom of heaven would be like. He was new on the scene trying to explain to them what was soon to occur. He was trying to prepare them to receive the gospel.”

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