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YOU ARE HERE:   Home >  Articles >  Other Topics >  "The Pearl of Great Price"

For more information on these topics, please visit the Apologetics or the Other Religious Movements sections of our web catalog; or click here to order a free information packet.

Mark Correll

"The Pearl of Great Price"

Mark Correll
Cathedral of the Cross

"…the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matthew 13:45-4

Here the Bride of Christ, the church, is called the Pearl of Great Price. A pearl so precious, so comely that the Merchant Man, Jesus, seeking goodly pearls was willing to sell all that He had to buy just that one pearl.

In just two verses, Matthew encapsulates the emotions of our Savior and our God towards His church. Jesus, the true Merchant Man, did just what this parable talks about. He gave all He could possibly give on Calvary (the bargaining table) to purchase His bride, His precious pearl.

Before looking at further similarities, let's narrow down the meaning of the Bride of Christ to those who are saved…purchased by Christ. If saved, we are both individually and collectively His Bride-you and I are a "pearl of great price."

As a child of God, I find this parallel between pearls and the body of Christ interesting because a pearl has such a questionable beginning, one which could well be described as far from beautiful. As it is with the pearl, so it is with the bride of Christ-as it is with the bride of Christ, so it is with the pearl.

What then do you and a pearl have in common that unifies and justifies so great an analogy? Well, it all starts like this:

A grain of sand, a piece of foreign matter, or at times, even an intruding parasite somehow works its way inside of an oyster and lodges in the folds of its flesh. I can almost see the tiny invader in the calm sea; microscopic, unseen, unheard, unfelt on the surface finds a sliver of an opening in the otherwise hard hinged shell that protects its host.

How like us. We appear so tough on the outside, so impenetrable, so together. After all, we're adults now, not kids. We don't cry anymore. We've been hurt enough times that we've learned well how to protect ourselves. Our outside smiles are pulled tight, concealing the way into our hearts. The oyster's white outside shell has concentric rings that show years of "handling situations" and of weathering storms. Like the oyster, our shells have served our soft inside well-have they not?

Then it happens-a tiny grain of sand slips through. Our shell, unknown to us, has been breached. Once inside, we feel it like we feel the throws of a thousand darts. We toss and turn because of the pain. We struggle with the hurtful emotion. We wonder why we can't "ride it out." We ache deep inside. We hurt like we've never hurt before. To make matters worse, no one else understands what we're going through. To them, it's just a small grain of sand-but to us; it's an emotional sand barge blocking our forward motion and sense of wellness.

Like the invaded oyster we must cast out this unwanted guest, we must try to expel this unwanted hurt, this deep disappointment, this emotional feeling that feels like hell on earth. We try, but almost always, like the oyster, to no avail.

Exasperated and annoyed by constant failure, the frustrated ocean mollusk will finally abort its first plan and choose an inevitable alternate route. We can almost title this other direction as "THE NEXT BEST THING."

Realizing the pain isn't going to leave, the oyster will secrete, over and over again, a milky calcium-like substance called nacre that will thoroughly coat the irritating intruder-smoothing over the rough edges of the sand-grain, or killing the leech-like organism.

As far as the oyster is concerned-this inborn survival technique is only utilized to take care of the present need and make life more bearable and comfortable. Yet, apart from its knowledge or plan, something quite rare, precious and beautiful is being formed-one tedious step at a time.

Glory is gradually being born out of adversity. Beauty is emerging from difficulty. Something of quality, of excellent value, is slowly yet steadily being created out of that which appeared to have no value. In other words, (speaking on both levels now) the glory of the oyster's future inheritance far outweighs the temporary and comparatively minor hardship that it may have to endure along the way…AND SO IT IS WITH US!

Paul said it this way, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17

As I've heard my father-in-law many times say-"its not the mountain up ahead that bothers us, but rather the pebble in our shoe." Whether big or small, that grain, that affliction, that hurt, that loss, seems like the end of your world. Take hope! To the Lord, you are of great price! You may even be a "Pearl" in the making…A Pearl of Great Price!

May God continue to bless you as He coats you with His Son's blood!

Cathedral of the Cross

This article was excerpted from the April 1999 Vantage Point.

For more information on these topics, please visit the Apologetics or the Other Religious Movements sections of our web catalog; or click here to order a free information packet.