Lesson 11 | Sabbath, 9 September 2023
“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.
“The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. Those who had been the bitterest opponents of the gos- pel became its champions…. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 19.
JESUS IS THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
1.Every pearl is formed in reaction to an irritant that enters between the oyster’s mantle and shell. How did the apostle Paul present Jesus Christ and the purpose for which He took human nature upon Himself? As the pearl of great price, how can one receive Jesus’ nature in God’s kingdom?
Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Hebrews 2:14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
Isaiah 9:6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the govern- ment shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The ev- erlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
“Christ Himself is the pearl of great price. In Him is gathered all the glory of the Father, the fullness of the Godhead. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person. The glory of the attributes of God is expressed in His character. Every page of the Holy Scriptures shines with His light. The righteousness of Christ, as a pure, white pearl, has no defect, no stain. No work of man can improve the great and precious gift of God.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 115.
2.How will the seeker for truth receive Jesus Christ? With what combined nature did He go to heaven at the end of His earthly ministry?
Matthew 1:23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Hebrews 1:3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the ex- press image of his person, and up- holding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
1 Corinthians 1:30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
“It is without a flaw. In Christ are ‘hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ Colossians 2:3. He is ‘made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.’ 1 Corinthians 1:30. All that can satisfy the needs and longings of the human soul, for this world and for the world to come, is found in Christ. Our Redeemer is the pearl so precious that in comparison all things else may be accounted loss.” –Christ’s Object Les- sons, p. 115.
3.According to the parable, to whom is Jesus Christ the pearl of great price? What is unique about merchants?
Matthew 13:45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.
Acts 8:27-31. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
“But not all were found indifferent to the gift of heaven. The merchantman in the parable represents a class who were sincerely desiring truth. In different nations there were earnest and thoughtful men who had sought in literature and science and the religions of the heathen world for that which they could receive as the soul’s treasure. Among the Jews there were those who were seeking for that which they had not. Dissatisfied with a formal religion, they longed for that which was spiritual and uplifting.
”Christ’s chosen disciples belonged to the latter class, Cornelius and the Ethiopian eunuch to the former. They had been longing and praying for light from heaven; and when Christ was revealed to them, they received Him with gladness.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 116.
4.What did the merchant in the parable do? From what did Christ say the treasure must be protected, referring to unbelievers and how they disrespect the pearl of great price?
Matthew 13:46. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Daniel 12:10. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Matthew 7:6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
“In the parable the pearl is not represented as a gift. The merchantman bought it at the price of all that he had. Many question the meaning of this, since Christ is represented in the Scriptures as a gift. He is a gift, but only to those who give themselves, soul, body, and spirit, to Him without reserve. We are to give ourselves to Christ, to live a life of willing obedience to all His requirements. All that we are, all the talents and capabilities we possess, are the Lord’s, to be consecrated to His service. When we thus give ourselves wholly to Him, Christ, with all the treasures of heaven, gives Himself to us. We obtain the pearl of great price.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 116.
THE MERCHANT’S FEELINGS
5.How did Christ feel when humanity fell into the depths of sin? How does the Christian value the pearl of great price?
Luke 19:9, 10. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
John 4:25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
Psalm 73:25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
“The parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls has a double significance: it applies not only to men as seeking the kingdom of heaven, but to Christ as seeking His lost inheritance. Christ, the heavenly merchantman seeking goodly pearls, saw in lost humanity the pearl of great price. In man, defiled and ruined by sin, He saw the possibilities of redemption…. He collected all the riches of the universe, and laid them down in order to buy the pearl. And Jesus, having found it, resets it in His own diadem. ‘For they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land.’ Zechariah 9:16. ‘They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.’ Malachi 3:17.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 118.
WORKING FOR SALVATION
6.How does God work in the human soul? What does He want man to do for the formation of his character, and for what purpose?
Romans 12:1, 2. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Philippians 2:13. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
1 Thessalonians 5:23. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“We are to give ourselves to Christ, to live a life of willing obedience to all His requirements. All that we are, all the talents and capabilities we possess, are the Lord’s, to be consecrated to His service. When we thus give ourselves wholly to Him, Christ, with all the treasures of heaven, gives Himself to us. We obtain the pearl of great price.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 116.
7.Just as the pearl of great price has its own brilliance, what does the Lord want from His faithful children? Of what material are the gates made that Christ will open for the redeemed to enter the New Jerusalem?
Philippians 2:14, 15. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
Revelation 22:14; 21:21. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city…. 21:21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
“Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: ‘Your conflict is ended.’ ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” –The Great Controversy, p. 646.
For Additional Study
“We are to seek for the pearl of great price, but not in worldly marts or in worldly ways. The price we are required to pay is not gold or silver, for this belongs to God. Abandon the idea that temporal or spiritual advantages will win for you salvation. God calls for your willing obedience. He asks you to give up your sins. ‘To him that overcometh,’ Christ declares, ‘will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ Revelation 3:21.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 117.