The Chief Good
Matthew 13:44-46
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides…

The parable of the treasure and that of the pearl as they are here together may well be considered together, for the subject is the same. The repetition emphasizes the importance and value of the gospel. These parables set before us -


1. What is it?

(1) It is a "treasure." The allusion here may be to a pot of money or a casket of jewels "hidden in a field;" or possibly to a mine of precious ore. It is the "pearl of great price" - a stone of incomparable size, purity, and beauty. But these are only figures.

(2) Christ unites in himself all qualities of excellence and value. He is the King of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Luke 17:20-25). The monarch is the representative of the kingdom's wealth and glory (cf. John 1:16; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:3).

(3) In him are the treasures of pardons for the guilty, he has paid the great price of our redemption. In him also are the riches of purity for the believer. Purity is the title to the riches of the heaven of everlasting glory.

2. Why is it hidden?

(1) For the rousing of our faculties and quickening of our diligence (see Proverbs 2:1-7). This stimulus is an important factor in our moral education. The miner becomes skilful in mining. So the merchantman in estimating the quality and value of pearls.

(2) The diligence thus called forth enhances the value of the treasure. We value things according to the price we will pay. Also according to the price we have paid. The endurance of our faith is intimately associated with the thoroughness of our repentance.

(3) They are hidden to conceal them from the unworthy.

(a) Lest they should insult them. The swine will trample on the pearl, and turn and rend the merchantman.

(b) As a judgment upon their brutishness (cf. vers. 10-15; Isaiah 6:9).

3. From whom are they hidden?

(1) From the wise and understanding, viz. in their own conceits (cf. Matthew 11:25-27). Not many of our sophs are called.

(2) From the self-righteous. From the Pharisees, who were notably of this order, especially it was that Christ taught in parables to hide the saving truth.

(3) From the sensual. The treasure of the gospel is spiritual. It is, therefore, to be discerned by the spiritual senses. The grosser sensualism of the flesh blinds the finer sense of the spirit (cf. John 14:9).

(4) From the worldly. They can only see the surface of the field. A nobleman once gave a celebrated actress a Bible, telling her at the same time that there was a treasure in it. She, thinking he meant religion, laid the Bible aside. She died, and all she had was sold. The person who bought the Bible, on turning over its leaves, found a five hundred pound note in it. Had the actress read that book she might not only have found the note, but the "Pearl of great price."


1. Where is it found!

(1) In this present world. "The field is the world" (ver. 38).

(a) In that part of the world called Palestine the treasure was once hidden. Now the Pearl is to be found wherever the merchantman with sufficient diligence may seek for it (see John 4:21-24).

(b) In this present world we are probationers for eternity. If we miss the opportunities of this probation we have no promise of a second. There are no treasures of salvation for the richest of the rich men in hell (see Luke 16:26).

(2) In the Word of God. It is not to be found in nature. God's plan of salvation is not written upon the ethereal dome in the fire of the stars. It is not uttered by the tongue of thunder. We neither hear it in the roar of the sea nor in the whispers of the groves. It is the theme of holy revelation (see John 5:39).

(3) In the ordinances of religion. These are fittingly called "means of grace." In them the Word of revelation is read, expounded, preached. The Holy Spirit of inspiration is present. There by his own appointment (cf. Exodus 29:43; Matthew 18:20).

(4) In the believing heart. The blessings of salvation are revealed to faith (see Romans 10:4-10).

2. How is it to be found?

(1) Sometimes it may be found without seeking. The gospel found the Gentiles when they sought not for it (see Romans 10:19-21). Sinners in the mid-career of madness have been arrested by a word.

(2) It is always to be found by seeking. The miner may infallibly strike upon this lode. The merchantman need never miss the Pearl of great price (cf. Matthew 7:7, 8).

(3) The purpose of the seeker must be simple. To the "babes" is revealed the wisdom hidden from the "wise and understanding" (Matthew 11:25).


1. It fills the soul with joy.

(1) It brings the greatest relief. We have the treasure which discharges all our heavy liabilities to God. It delivers us from liability to the damnation of hell.

(2) It assures the highest hope. For what hope is higher than the hope of heaven? Holiness is the qualification and assurance for that hope.

(3) It is the purest joy. What joy can be purer than the love of God?

2. It inspires a holy vigilance.

(1) The finder of the hidden treasure hides it still until he can make it his own. Note: The parable does not pronounce one way or another upon the ethical question as to how far a man may take advantage of the ignorance of his neighbour. The teaching of the simile is a commendation of vigilance. The true treasure is in everybody's field. One is not deprived of it in order that another may be enriched. But the unbelieving are ready to barter for folly that which the wise will buy at any cost.

(2) But is it not the duty of the Christian to confess Christ? Undoubtedly. But how can a man confess him before he has him? The treasure is hidden only while it is in the prospect of possession.

3. It begets the true spirit of sacrifice.

(1) The wise man buys the field; then the treasure becomes his.

(2) But what does he give for it? "All that he has" (see Matthew 19:16-22).

(3) But what has a man before he finds Christ? Nothing but sin. What, then, does he "sell"? Simply sin - all his sin. Blessed riddance!

(4) What, then, does he gain? Christ. In Christ he has everything worth possessing. Blessed exchange! - J.A.M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

WEB: "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.

Religion Gained At Personal Sacrifice
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