Mat. 13:44-51 The Parables of the Treasure, the Pearl, & the Fish

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 5 Aug. 2012


13:44 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a treasure-chest which had been hidden in the field
            which a man found, then hid, and then, out of his joy,
            he goes on and sells all of however much he possesses and buys that field.


13:45 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a merchant man seeking fine pearls,

  13:46 who, after finding one highly-valued pearl,
            went off selling all of however much he had possessed, and he bought it.


13:47 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet
            dropped into the lake and gathering [some] from every species. 48 which, when it gets full,
            they haul up onto the shore and sit down and gather up the good ones into pails,
            but the rotten ones they throw out.

13:49 It will be this way during the conclusion of the age: The angels will come out
            and demarcate the evil persons out of the middle of the righteous persons,

  13:50 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace; weeping and gnashing of teeth will be there.

13:51 Jesus says to them, “Are y’all comprehending all these things?” They say to Him, “Yes.”

INTRODUCTION: Show “Like Treasure” film clip

In these next two parables, the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price, “the incalculable preciousness of salvation [is emphasized] for those who discover it and obtain possession of it without even looking for it… [a]lso for those who obtain possession of the kingdom after diligent search.”[1]


1. Hidden treasure

13:44 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a treasure-chest which had been hidden in the field, which a man found then hid, and then, out of his joy, he goes on and sells all of however much he possesses and buys that field.

[παλιν[2]] ‘ομοια εστιν ‘η βασιλεια των ουρανων θησαυρω κεκρυμμενω εν τω αγρω ‘ον ευρων ανθρωπος εκρυψεν και απο της χαρας αυτου ‘υπαγει και πωλει παντα ‘οσα εχει και αγοραζει[3] τον αγρον εκεινον.

·         The timeline is that in the distant past, some kind of a treasure-container was buried on somebody’s farmland, then a man came along and found it, then he hid it again, and now he is pictured as selling everything he owns and going through the process of acquiring that farmland.

·         What was he doing digging in somebody else’s land in the first place?

o       Commentator William Hendricksen suggested that the finder had rented the field to plant crops on and was tilling up the soil, and that’s how he came across the buried treasure.

o       John Gill points out in his commentary that getting the original owner to sell the property while unaware of the treasure would lead to bad blood between the buyer and seller[4], so he came up with another plausible explanation that the finder was a mining prospector, and the treasure was a lode of ore he discovered while surveying.

·         At any rate, Jesus said that this was like the kingdom of heaven. How so?

o       First off, like the buried treasure, the benefits of God’s kingdom are hidden:

§         We saw that same word “hidden/hid” describing the kingdom in vs. 33-35 with the yeast “hid” in the batch of dough and Jesus uttering things “hidden” from the foundation of the world.

o       13:33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman got and hid within three buckets of flour until such [time] as [the] whole was leavened.” (NAW)

o       13:35 Thus the word through the prophet was fulfilled which says, “I will open my mouth in parables; I will pour forth things which have been hidden since the foundation of the universe.” (NAW)

§         Some Bible scholars[5] see the field as representing the word of God, in which are hidden the treasures of truth and the knowledge of salvation, but they have to be mined out.

§         In Colossians 2, the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the ultimate treasure-trove, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3)

§         But the value of having a personal relationship with Jesus is not obvious now from a worldly standpoint; the glory in which we will partake in heaven is not very visible now.

§         “On the whole, it is the things we can see which we prize, and so the new and spiritual life which is proclaimed in the Gospel seems too humble for us because it is hidden, enclosed in hope… [T]he kingdom of heaven is not thought to be worth anything, since men have no taste for it and do not realize what an incomparable treasure the Lord offers in the Gospel.” ~J. Calvin

§         So, the kingdom is hidden, but…

o       For those who recognize and prize its value, it becomes a life-changing source of hope for the future and joy in the present.

§         The placement of αυτου in this verse is ambiguous. This pronoun could refer either to the man “in his joyNIV,ESV”, or to the treasure “for joy thereofKJV/from joy over itNAS,Hend.,Calv..”) Either way, he is experiencing joy!

§         “Hitherto [in the parable of the mustard seed and of the yeast, Jesus] had compared the kingdom of heaven to small things, because its beginning was small; but, lest any should thence take occasion to think meanly of it, in this parable and the next he represents it as of great value in itself, and of great advantage to those who embrace it, and are willing to come up to its terms…” ~Matthew Henry

§         This leads to the finder hiding the treasury and selling all he has to get the rights to the field so he can have that treasure.

o       What exactly is meant by the fact that he “hid” it back is a bit fuzzy. The idea might be to protect himself from competition so that he can be more sure of getting the prize.

§         What if somebody else found it and tried to beat him out of getting the treasure?

§         Is there anything in your life competing for your devotion to Christ? Bury it so that there is no competition in your heart when it comes to the lordship of Jesus!

§         The scriptures warn us to remove the stumbling blocks and see to it that nothing hinders us from getting the prize of our calling in Christ:

§         Neither distrust: Heb. 4:1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. (NASB)

§         Nor bitterness: Heb. 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled (NASB)

§         Nor any other kind of sin: Ps. 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You. (NKJV)

§         “Don’t you know that all those running in a race run, but one receives the prize? So run in order that you might receive [it hands] down!” (1Cor. 9:24 24, NAW)

·         Application

o       The fact that the guy in the parable sold everything he had in order to get the treasure does not mean that you have to sell all you own and take a vow of poverty in order to be a real Christian.

§         Elsewhere, Jesus encouraged the ownership and use of houses, fields, clothes, swords, fishing nets, and boats, etc.

§         This parable should not be taken literally, or else you would have to say that a relation­ship with God is round and white and comes out of an oyster. That’s nonsense!

o       Secondly, this does not mean that you can buy your way into a right relationship with God:

§         “Christ does not mean that men bring any price with which they may purchase for themselves the heavenly life, for we know on what condition the Lord invites believers in the book of Isaiah (55:1), ‘Come and buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ But though the heavenly life and every thing that belongs to it is the free gift of God, yet we are said to buy it when we cheerfully relinquish the desires of the flesh, that nothing may prevent us from obtaining it.” ~J. Calvin

o       The meaning is that the kingdom of heaven is worth everything, and if we were to give up everything in order to get it, we would still be glad about it! Christians orient their lives around the value of a right relationship with God, rather than the value of anything else in the world.

o       “…the Gospel is not given its rightful honour unless we put it before all the riches, delights, honors, and comforts of the world… [and] neglect everything that would draw us from it.” ~J. Calvin

o       The Apostle Paul put it this way: “But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. But even more than that, I reckon all things to be loss on account of the superiority of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I sustained loss; and reckoned (them as) dung, in order that I may gain Christ, and that I may be found (standing) in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is in the law, but (having) the (righteousness) through faith of Christ, the (righteousness) of God based on faith. So that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the partnership of His suffering, by being constantly made to conform to His death, so that I may reach unto the resurrection which is from the dead. Not that I have already taken hold or have already been made complete, but I pursue as if also to overtake that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I myself do not claim to seize (it). But one thing, forgetting what is behind, reaching for what is ahead, I pursue the goal to the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:7-14, SDCS)

2. Pearl of Great Price

13:45 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a merchant man[6] seeking fine pearls,

Παλιν ‘ομοια εστιν ‘η βασιλεια των ουρανων ανθρωπω εμπορω ζητουντι καλους μαργαριτας


13:46 who, after finding one highly-valued pearl, went off selling all of however much he had possessed and bought it.

‘ος[7] ευρων ‘ενα πολυτιμον μαργαριτην απελθων πεπρακεν παντα ‘οσα ειχεν και ηγορασεν αυτον.

·         These kind of merchants are mentioned throughout the Bible as being from foreign countries and specializing in international import and export items. (Gen. 23:16; 37:28; 1Ki. 10:15,28; 2Ch. 1:16; Isa. 23:8; Ezek. 27:12-25,36; 38:13; Rev. 18:3,11,15,23)

·         The pearls he’s “seekingKJV,NAS/in search ofESV[8]/looking forNIV” are “goodlyKJV/beautifulNKJ/ fineNAS,NIV” pearls, using the same Greek word used for the “good” soil, the “good” seed, and the “good” fruit in other parables (Matt. 3:10; 5:16; 7:17-19; 12:33; 13:8; 13:23-27; 13:37-38, and the “good” fish in the next parable v.48).

o       Job 28:18b is the only place where pearls are mentioned in the English translations of the O.T.: comparing the value of wisdom to the value of pearls “…the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.” (NASB)

o       But some Bible scholars (Unger and Strong) suggest that the other 5 occurrences of the same Hebrew word pennim besides Job 28:18 (Prov. 3:15, 8:11, 20:15, 31:10, and Lam 4:7), refer to the pink pearl from the pinna shellfish in the Red Sea.

§         Prov. 3:15 She [wisdom] is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her.” (NASB)

§         Prov. 8:11 "For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.” (NASB)

§         Prov. 20:15 There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing. (NASB)

§         Prov. 31:10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. (NASB)

§         Lam. 4:7 Her consecrated ones were purer than snow, They were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than corals, Their polishing was like lapis lazuli. (NASB)

o       At any rate, pearls were worn by wealthy women as a special decoration in N.T. times (1Tim. 2:9, Rev. 17:4; 18:16),

§         1Tim. 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments (NASB)

§         Rev. 17:4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, (NASB)

§         Rev. 18:16 saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; (NASB)

o       and the glory of heaven is described in Rev. 21:21 as twelve gates, each made of a single pearl, and streets paved with gold so smooth and pure it looks like glass.

§         Rev. 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (NASB)

·         The pearl which the merchant finds is very unique and special. There’s only “one,” and it is of “great price/great value” – and not the kind of “great value” advertised at Wal-Mart. This pearl is highly sought-after and extremely expensive. The word polytimon is used in only two other places in the Bible:

o       once in John 12:3 to indicate the costliness of the perfume Mary poured over Jesus’ feet, which Judas Iscariot estimated was worth entire year’s wages
John 12:3-5 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” (

o       and once in 1 Pet. 1:7 to teach that our faith in Jesus is more precious than gold.
1 Pet. 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (

·         “All the children of men are busy, seeking goodly pearls: one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most… take up counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price, a Jewel of inestimable value, which will make those who have it rich, truly rich, rich toward God; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever.” ~Mat. Henry

·         The word for “sold” is different from the one used in the parable of the treasure in the field. This word is primarily used throughout scripture to indicate selling people as slaves, although it is also used for selling land. It is possible that this word implies that the merchant didn’t merely sell off his furniture and his investments, he actually sold the land he owned plus all the people in his house![9]

·         The phrase “all/everything he had” ties this parable directly to the previous one about the treasure in the field. Jesus emphasizes that the kingdom of heaven is worth everything.

o       The Imperfect verb tense of the word “had” in this parable underscores the fact that this merchant owns nothing any more except for that pearl. He has no home to come back to.

o       But this guy is a smart, world-travelling merchant, and he knows when he’s found something of true value, and he is satisfied with the trade.

·         Once again, Jesus indicates that trading all your earthly effects and going after one precious thing is characteristic of people under the kingship of Jesus.


ILLUSTRATION: Lilias Trotter, grew up in the privileged surroundings of London’s West End during the Golden Age of Victoria, experiencing the private tutelage of governesses at home and the stimulation of Continental travel by horse-drawn carriage during the summer months. She had a special talent in watercolor art and was hailed by the most prominent art critic in London as one of England’s greatest living artists. However, in May of 1887, she heard a message about those in North Africa who had never heard the name of Christ. She felt the call of God on her life to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the people of Algeria, and she spent the rest of her life bringing the light and life and love of Jesus to these Arabs[10]. Her life and writings were the inspiration behind the hymn, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” She wrote: “Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen good harmless worlds at once—art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the “good” hiding the “best” even more effectually than it could be hidden by downright frivolity with its smothered heart-ache at its own emptiness. It is easy to find out whether our lives are focussed, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Does this test not give the clue? Then dare to have it out with God—and after all, that is the shortest way. Dare to lay bare your whole life and being before Him, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focussed on Christ and His glory.”

3. Fishing-net

13:47 Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet dropped into the lake and gathering [some] from every species.

παλιν ‘ομοια εστιν ‘η βασιλεια των ουρανων σαγηνη βληθειση εις την θαλασσαν και εκ παντος γενους συναγαγουση

·         This parable starts with a commercial fishing net (dragnetNASB,NKJV).

o       The Greek Bible mentions this net in only six other places, all in the O.T.[11], several of which mention that these nets were “spread” on the water.

o       Thayer’s Lexicon indicates that this word (from which we get our English word “seine”) is one of about 5 Greek words used for fishing nets[12], and that this was one of the larger-sized nets.

o       In the parable it is thrownESV/castKJV,NAS/[dropped] downNIV into the water and then “drawn/hauledTHAY up on the shore,” which seems to indicate a kind of net dragged through the water behind a boat and which is too large to pull back into the boat and still have room to sort out its contents, so you have to drag it to shore and finish the job there.

·         This kind of net indiscriminately captures everything in the water:

o       The parable says literally “every kind” – employing the same Greek word for “kind” employed in the creation account of Genesis for “species”: “And God made great whales, and every living reptile, which the waters brought forth according to their kinds, and every creature that flies with wings according to its kind, and God saw that they were good.”(Gen. 1:21 Brenton LXX).

o       It is also used throughout the N.T. to indicate ethnicity, which is even more specific than species. All types were collected.

o       Just as in the earlier parable of the wheat and the tares, where both the desirable and the undesirable plants were growing together in the farmer’s field, so in this parable, both desirable fish as well as the undesirable ones are shown to be contained in the kingdom over which God is king.

o       Practically all the commentators I read said that this represents the church: that there will be believers and unbelievers in the church and that we can’t sort them out in this life, but God will in the future.

o       While I agree that the elders of local churches cannot fully know the hearts of everyone who applies for membership in the church, and not everyone who associates with Christian churches are necessarily going to be saved, because salvation is a matter of a personal rela­tionship with God and not merely a matter of human association. Nevertheless, I have a hard time supporting a representation of the church as being just as full of unbelievers as it is of believers. I rather think that the mixed multitude of every kind of good and bad fish in the lake in this parable is representing the world at large, and implies that God’s kingdom has jurisdiction over both Christians and non-Christians.


13:48 which, when it gets full, they haul up onto the shore and sit down and gather up the good ones into pails, but the rotten ones they throw out.

‘ην ‘οτε επληρωθη αναβιβασαντες[13] επι τον αιγιαλον και καθισαντες συνελεξαν τα καλα εις αγγεια[14] τα δε σαπρα εξω εβαλον

·         So all the fish are hauled up8 onto the beach, and the fishermen sit down, and then they gatherKJV,NAS/sortESV/collectNIV what they want into containersNAS,ESV/vesselsKJV/basketsNIV 9. Likewise, there will come a day when all mankind will be brought together, and Jesus will sit down on His judgment seat and start sorting out which people will be brought into heaven to be with Him and which will be cast into the lake of fire.

·         In this parable we see that Jesus, the King of Kings, will exercise His authority in the end according to each person’s relationship with Him, whether good or bad. This is good news, for we can find peace in knowing that the evil people in this world are not outside of Jesus’ power and authority; they will at some point be held accountable.

·         The Greek word “bad” describing the “bad” fish that that are “thrown away” is sapra, the same word Jesus used to describe the “bad/rotten fruit” in Mat. 7:17-18; and 12:33.

o       Matt. 7:17-19 Likewise, every good tree makes nice fruit, but the rotten tree makes bad fruit. It’s not possible for a good tree to make bad fruit or for a rotten tree to make nice fruit. Every tree not making nice fruit gets cut down and thrown into a fire. (NAW)

o       Matt. 12:33 Either start making the tree good and its fruit good or start making the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, for it is by the fruit that the tree is recognized. (NAW)

·         The sorting process is what is emphasized in this verse. Even though the fish were swimming together in the same lake, the fish-judge will put the good fish in one place and the bad fish in a different place.


13:49 It will be this way during the close of the age. The angels will come out and demarcate the evil persons out of the midst of the righteous persons,

‘ουτως εσται εν τη συντελεια του αιωνος εξελευσονται ‘οι αγγελοι και αφοριουσιν τους πονηρους εκ μεσου των δικαιων

·         Again, this sorting-out is emphasized as the lines are drawn by the angels, separatingNIV/demark­ating the good from the bad so that the unified company of mankind is severedKJV and the evil are taken outNAS.

·         Jesus says that this image of fishermen sorting fish is what the “end of the age” will be like.

·         So, what is the “end of the age”?

o       The Greek word translated “end” (or “close” in the ESV) is suntelia – a compound word composed of sun=together with and telos=end.

o       Most of the time in the O.T. it refers to God ending the life of a person or kingdom with destruction.

o       In the N.T. it only occurs in the phrase “end of the age” and that phrase occurs only 6 times: 5 in Matthew and once in Hebrews – the two books most oriented toward Jewish culture:

§         In Hebrews, it refers to the time when Jesus died on the cross to do away with our sin: Heb. 9:26 “…but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (NASB)

§         In one sense it was the end of an age, the age in which the descendents of Abraham would be the centerpiece of God’s kingdom and which ended when the Romans obliterated the nation of Israel in 70AD.

§         but in Matthew, “the end of the age” refers to a time beyond that, as we’ve seen already in the parable of the wheat and the tares, when God judges mankind, using powerful angels as His helpers, and takes the righteous to heaven and burns the unrighteous. Mat. 13:39-40 …the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. (NASB)

§         According to Mat. 24:3b, this will be the time of the second coming of Christ: “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (NASB)

§         But those who are disciples of Christ – who have been baptized and are learning to obey all that He commanded – need not be afraid, in this life or in the judgment day itself, because in His Great Commission Jesus promised to be with us, even to the end of the age: Mat. 28:20 “…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NASB)

·         Remember though, that it is not your opinion on what is good and bad that will matter on that day, only Jesus’ opinion will matter. And if we want to know how He will make those judgments, all we have to do is study the standards He delivered to us in the Bible.

·         The next verse tells us what will happen to all who disregard His law:


13:50 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace; weeping and gnashing of teeth will be there.

και βαλουσιν[15] αυτους εις την καμινον του πυρος εκει εσται ο κλαυθμος και ο βρυγμος των οδοντων

·         “declaring the remorse of conscience, the tortures of mind, the sense of inexpressible pain, and punishment, the wicked shall feel; also their furious rage and black despair” ~John Gill

·         This verse is a word-for-word copy of v.42 – the ending of the parable of the wheat and the tares.

·         Why would this be repeated? Because it is important!

o       First of all, it is important to Jesus because He is the one who is going to have to lead every­thing on Judgment Day when the time comes. Surely it is often on His mind how He is going to judge every human soul, and what He is going to do with every one for the rest of eternity.

o       And surely Jesus also wanted it to be on our minds too, so that anyone who heard His teaching and denied His lordship and spurned His free offer of salvation would know that they had no excuse and deserved to be thrown into the lake of fire.

o       And everyone who depended upon Him to save them on judgment day and who conscientiously followed His teachings in this life would remember what He is saving them from, and will desire to share the good news of His saving work with others.

·         This parable has a different, but related point than the parables of the treasure in the field and of the pearl of great price. It shifts from the valuableness of the kingdom to the exclusiveness of the kingdom:

o       In the first two parables, the application is that we need to be willing to give up everything in order to get into the kingdom.

o       The application of this parable is that we should praise God that we actually got into the kingdom, seeing how high the stakes are and how helpless we are to decide our fate!


13:51 Jesus says to them, “Are y’all comprehending all these things?” They say to Him, “Yes.”

[Λεγει αυτοις ‘ο Ιησους] Συνηκατε ταυτα παντα; Λεγουσιν αυτω Ναι[16].

·         It is important that disciples understand and “put it all together” because, as we saw from the Isaiah quote in v.15 and the parable of the sower in v. 19 and 23, those who “understand” will “repent” and be “healed” and “be fruitful” in God’s kingdom, but those who don’t understand will get the good news snatched away from them by the devil.

o       13:15 For the heart of this people was made calloused, and their ears hardly heard, and their eyes were shut, otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and they might return, and I will cure them.’

o       13:19 When any one hears word of the kingdom and does not comprehend, the evil one comes and grabs what has been sown in his heart. This is the one which was sown along the road.

o       13:23 But the one that was sown upon the good earth, this is the one who hears the word and who understands, who then bears fruit and is productive, in one case 100, in another case 60, and in another case 30.

·         Although I wondered at first whether this was a straightforward question from Jesus and whether this was an honest answer from the disciples, I’ve decided that this is the case, for in the next parable (which I hope to get to next week), Jesus seems to assume that they do understand and encourages them therefore to share their understanding of the kingdom of God with others.

·         Jesus asked, “Do you guys understand?” And that’s something we should ask from time to time. It is important to check for comprehension when we are discipling others in God’s ways.

o       “It is therefore good for us, when we have read or heard the word, to examine ourselves, or to be examined, whether we have understood it or not. It is no disparagement to the disciples of Christ to be catechized.” ~Matthew Henry



·         “[This parable] denotes the willingness of such souls, who are led into the glory, fulness, and excellency of the word of God, the scriptures of truth, and of the immense treasure of the Gospel therein, to part with all that has been, or is dear unto them; with their sins, and self-righteousness; with their good names and characters; their worldly substance, and life itself, for the sake of the Gospel, and their profession of it: and may also design the use of all means, to gain a larger degree of light and knowledge in the Gospel.” ~John Gill

·         When the emperor Diocletian began his brutal persecution of Christians in 303AD, he imprisoned a pastor from Antioch named Lucian. Lucian was a great scholar of Greek and Hebrew, and he was the primary researcher who compiled the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that Jerome used to translate the Bible into Latin. According to the writings of contemporary historians Eusebius and Crysostom, Lucian was put in prison and tried. During his trial, he gave a good defense of the Christian faith, but when the tribunal asked him any other question, such as, “Where are you from? What is your occupation? What is your family?” he would simply answer , “I am a Christian.” They decided to try to starve him until he would give up being a Christian. But every time they brought the starving man back out of his prison cell, he would say the same thing, “I am a Chrsitian.” Accounts vary as to how he paid the ultimate price, whether on the rack or through starvation or beheading. But Lucian is an example of a man who was sold out for Christ!


·         “Christ informs us, that a mixture of the good and the bad must be patiently endured till the end of the word; because, till that time, a true and perfect restoration of the Church will not take place.” ~J. Calvin

·         We are greatly in need of such a warning; for we are so captivated by the allurements of the world, that we come to forget eternal life, and in consequence of our carnality, the spiritual graces of God are far from being held by us in the estimation which they deserve. Justly, therefore, does Christ speak in such lofty terms of the excellence of eternal life, that we ought not to feel uneasiness at relinquishing, on account of it, whatever we reckon in other respects to be valuable.” ~J. Calvin


·         “…His object, in taking so much pains to instruct them, was not merely that they might be well informed, but that they might communicate to others what they had received” ~J. Calvin

·         “In view of the irreversible decisiveness of the coming judgment, impress upon men the exceeding preciousness of the kingdom of heaven and the necessity for everyone to take possession of it here and now!” ~Wm. Hendricksen

[1] William Hendricksen, p.576. He goes on to give examples of people who stumbled upon the kingdom without looking for it (like the man who found the treasure in the field): Nathaniel (John 1:46-51), The Samaritan woman (John 4), and the man born blind (John 9), followed by examples of people who found the kingdom after diligent search (like the pearl merchant): Cleopas (Luke 24:29), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-38), Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8), Lydia (Lydia 16:14), the jailer (Acts 16:29-34), and the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12).

[2] “Again” is not in three of the earliest Greek manuscripts (א,B,D), so it’s not in the Critical editions. Inasmuch as it is merely a marker of beginning a new discourse, its omission doesn’t substantially change the meaning.

[3] These words for “buy” and “sell” are found throughout scripture as the two standard counterparts in business transactions (Isa. 24:2; Mat. 21:12; 25:9; Mark 11:15; Luke 17:28; 22:36; Rev. 13:17).

[4] John Gill cites Philostratus (De Vita Apollonii, lib. 2. c. 15), in which the buyer and seller of a field argue over rights to treasure found in the field after the purchase.

[5] Such as John Gill and Matt. Henry

[6] Strangely, although all the Greek editions have the word “man” in them as a separate word from “merchant,” none of the modern English translations include the word “man.” The KJV reads “merchant man,” but even the NKJV just has “merchant.” Three of the earliest Greek manuscripts (א,B,Γ), omit ανθρωπω.

[7] א,B,D,L,θ,and f1 and thus the Critical editions read δε instead of ος, which is the reading of the Byzantine, Received, and Majority editions. There is no difference in meaning since the subject is unchanged by the relative pronoun (ος), and the conjunction (δε) doesn’t make or break the continuation of the story.

[8] The ESV appears to be attempting to use the preposition “in” to render the dative case of the participle, but the dative participle is simply matching the dative case of the object in the simile. Homoia makes its object dative in all these parables.

[9] Calvin seems to concur: “the experienced merchant does not hesitate to sell up fields and houses to buy it.”

[10] (4 Aug 2012)

[11] Eccl. 7:26; Isa. 19:8; Ezek. 26:5 & 14; Ezek. 47:10; Hab. 1:16

[12] The other four words being συνάγω, πλέγμα, δίκτυον, and αμφίβληστρον (the latter two being nets “cast” by hand).

[13] This is the only NT occurrence of this word. In the O.T. it is used of offering up sacrifices, of people helping someone mount a horse or a chariot, and of bringing someone up out of a pit or up onto a mountain or a housetop or a throne, and it occurs often in the phrase “brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” Once it is used of throwing dust into the air.

[14] αγγη is the reading of א,.B,C,N,θ,f1 and thus of the Critical edition, but this spelling appears nowhere else in the Bible, although αγγος appears 6x in the context of containing grain, water, and birds. The Byz, T.R., and Majority read αγγεια, which, according to Pershbacher’s Analytical Greek Lexicon, is a synonym with the same gender, number, and case, meaning “vessel, utensil.” It was used in the O.T. to refer to clay pots for holding wine, oil or water, or bags/baskets for holding bread, wheat, or fruit. Strong considered them to be the same root word, but A&G and Thayer did not, nevertheless, Strong and Thayer used the word “pail” to refer to both. Matthew is the only NT author to use either word, and his only other use of the word is 25:4 (αγγειοις), referring to the oil containers of the wise virgins.

[15] Several early manuscripts (א, D, f13) have a double lambda instead of a single one, throwing this word into the Present tense instead of the Future tense, but the lambdas are not doubled in the Byz, TR, Maj, or Critical Greek editions.

[16] The Majority, Byzantine, and Textus Receptus editions include the opening phrase in brackets as well as the vocative “Lord” at the end of the disciples’ reply, whereas the Critical editions do not have either. According to Nestle-Aland, the opening phrase is only missing in א,B,D,and 1010, whereas the final kurie is not found in א,B,D,θ,f1,f13,1424, or the Vulgate. Neither edit changes the meaning: Either way, the context of the disciples in the house remains from v.36, and either way, the disciples are listening to Jesus as their teacher and are answering that they understand Him.