Holy Trinity Church, Messingham
Holy Trinity Messingham

Monthly Articles

Monthly Article February 2022

Pearl Of Great Price

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

One of the books I am currently reading is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book for 2017 entitled ‘Dethroning Mammon.’ The illustration on the front of the book is of someone cradling a pearl of such worth that it has the complete focus of the ‘merchant’. The ‘pearl of great price’ is just one of the many parables Jesus uses to talk about the kingdom of heaven.

The parable is striking because it deals with someone who has business know–how, a shrewd and astute merchant, accustomed to getting a good deal; who one day, finds a ‘pearl of pearls’,  magnificent and more beautiful than he had ever seen and of astounding worth. So dazed with its beauty, the merchant sells all he has and obtains the pearl. Such a short parable yet so dramatic! Surely a businessman would not bet everything he had on one deal, yet this merchant does exactly that.

The parable is about someone who comes to understand God’s love for them. It is Jesus who is our greatest treasure. Indeed, the illustration on the front of the book shows a spade, but the handle is in the shape of a cross, reminding readers of the price paid by Jesus for our access to God’s kingdom. But there is also a great rock, which reminds us of the rock rolled away on Easter Sunday, when we celebrate and rejoice at the Lord’s mighty resurrection.

But Justin Welby goes on to talk of another way in which this parable can be understood. The merchant is God who will hold nothing back, who will give all that he has to gain that which is of astounding worth and beauty. The pearl of great price is also you and me, so precious in the eyes of God that he will give his only Son so that we might know to what depth we are loved. It is us who are claimed, held dearly, close to the heart of God. We are God’s most valued treasure.

Revd David Swannack

Rector (01724) 647789


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