Matthew 13:44–50: The Parables of the Treasure, Pearl, and the Net
As Jesus continues to teach about the kingdom of heaven, he shifts emphasis once again. The parable of the sower/four soils had given an explanation for why the word of the kingdom will produce such different results in different people. The parable of the weeds accounted for the ongoing presence of evil, even after Son of Man had begun his kingdom work of sowing the sons of the kingdom in the world. The parables of the mustard seed and the leaven had demonstrated how the kingdom will certain prevail in this world, albeit in a way that surprises and confounds the kingdom’s friends and enemies alike. As Jesus concludes his parables of the kingdom, he applies his teaching thus far by declaring that the kingdom of heaven is a double-edged sword.
1. Review what Jesus has taught about the parables of the kingdom so far. What did he communicate by the parable of the sower/four soils? By the parable of the weeds? By the parables of the mustard seed and leaven? What do those tell us about the kingdom of heaven that Jesus has come to establish on earth? What purpose do the parables play in Jesus’ overall strategies for teaching his gospel?
2. What does the parable of the hidden treasure teach us (v. 44)? Does this parable suggest that the man had been looking for treasure when he found it? What does Jesus teach us by saying that the treasure was “hidden” in the field? What does the field likely symbolize? How does the man respond after finding the treasure? What does this parable tell us about the value of the kingdom? What makes Jesus’ kingdom so valuable to his people?
3. What does the parable of the pearl of great price teach us? What kind of person do you think the merchant might represent? What dilemma faces this merchant who, while searching for “fine pearls,” finds instead one single “pearl of great value”? Why is the merchant willing to sell everything that he has in order to possess that pearl? What does this parable tell us about the value of the kingdom for those who are seeking for salvation, satisfaction, and security?
4. What does the parable of the net teach us? What does “every kind of fish” represent in the parable? What does Jesus teach by describing the separation of the good fish from the bad fish? How much does he tell us about the fate of the good fish? How much does he tell us about the fate of the bad fish? Why do you think that Jesus ends his kingdom parables with such a strong warning for those who have not received his kingdom by faith?