From Parasite to Pearl
Again, 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: 45,46
Behold the parasite. These horrid, unwanted creatures are everywhere. I recently spotted a deer tick weaving its way across my dog’s back. I couldn’t pick it off fast enough. After mashing its hard-outer shell, I watched it struggle to move. I took special delight in its slow demise. And there’s hardly an animal that is safe from their free-loading instincts. Take the oyster for example. Perhaps you were not aware that, rather than a grain of sand beginning the whole pearl process, it is usually a parasite that wounds the unsuspecting mollusk. The oyster, rather than pushing the intruder away, begins to encircle it with its shell producing fluid. Think of it, in the middle of that beautiful pearl, is a parasite just dying to get out. (Actually, it’s dead, but it’s a bit more fun to imagine its futile attempts to escape).
When Jesus taught concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, one of the analogies he used was that of a pearl of great price. So beautiful was this gem of the sea, that the merchant sold all he had to purchase it. It was that valuable to him. Consider, for a moment, what Jesus was saying to us in this parable.
First of all, it was the merchant who was seeking pearls. Who, but the Father seeks us? No one! “No one cared for my soul,” King David cried out in anguish. The prodigal son’s father ran to greet him upon his return. It is the Father who seeks us, even in our rebellion. Next, consider the wounding of the oyster by the parasite. We have wounded Christ by our parasitical sin on the cross. Born into this world, with Adam’s nature, our whole lives are dominated by selfish pursuits. As unpopular as it is to say, the bible describes mankind’s present nature to be wholly given up to that of a parasite, whose primary concern is ourselves. But what does Christ do for us? Rather than reject the wound of our sin upon himself, he embraced it in his sacrifice on Calvary. He covers us with his life, and over time, produces the pearl of great price. This singular pearl is the church as a whole, made up of believers who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and whose lives are displaying his beauty.
One more point of interest. When we enter heaven and walk through the gates of that city, we will actually be entering through the center of pearls. Imagine a pearl big enough to become a gate in a city that massive. The center of those twelve pearls will be gone. It is a beautiful truth that the parasite, that once lay in the core of those pearls will be gone forever. No more taunt or touch of the parasite of sin in that heavenly Jerusalem. Jesus promised that he is making all things new. Oh, the glory of our eternal home. Free at last.