THE WORD: A reward for those who seek it

PHOTO CAPTION: “The Pearl of Great Price” by Domenico Fetti (cir. 1620) is a painting in the collection of Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria (Public Domain)

The sixth parable in Matthew 13 is the Parable of the Pearl. Like the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, it was spoken only to the disciples by Christ. This short, one-verse parable has several nuanced interpretations. Like the hidden treasure, this parable illustrates the value of the kingdom of heaven and the willingness of a seeker to give up everything he owns to attain it. This parable differs from the hidden treasure in that the finder of the treasure found it by happenstance; whereas, the pearl was found after the merchant sought it out. It is notable that during the time of Christ, the Romans attached great value to pearls. 

The parable is referenced in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, with the daughter of Hester Prynne being named Pearl. “But she named the infant ‘Pearl,’ as being of great price, — purchased with all she had, — her mother’s only treasure!”

MATTHEW 13:45-46

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.