Matthew 13:45-46 (www.apostolicbible.com)
Jesus goes on to liken the Kingdom of the Heavens to a man who is obsessed with finding the ultimate treasure: for him, it is the ultimate pearl.
Do you have any pearls? (I don't). Maybe your wife or girlfriend or grandmother has some pearl jewelry: an earing or a necklace or a bracelet; normal, I guess. But wouldn't you think it was a bit strange if your next door neighbor decided to have a yard sale, sell the family home & cars, trade off the stock portfolio and cash in the 401k plan --everything-- just to buy some fancy pearl?
"Maybe the guy went a bits nuts? Or had a nervous breakdown? I would, too, if ... ," you might try to explain.
Though most agree that pearls are beautiful, not many people get overly excited about them. Hardly nobody -nobody but some really eccentric type- would sell off everything he worked his whole life to get just for some pearl, no matter how fancy it looked. Most would think him as bit bizarre, out of it, off kilter, irresponsible, etc., to do such an unconventional, unadivisable thing. If he were and old man, he would have to be going senile. And If he were a young man, they might think it was drug-related. If in his forties, it would have to be a case of "middle-age crazy."
Now what if this fancy pearl turned out to be some kind of legendary Fabergé egg worth millions?
Not so nutty now, afterall, huh? Now the guy is hailed as, "Visionary! An investment genius!"
And this is how Jesus described the situation of seeking and obtaining the Kingdom of the Heavens: That it would be an extra-ordinary person would realize its value and do everything in his power to obtain it at all costs, "sell everything!" Uninformed, ordinary people would think such a person was "nuts!" while those who understood its true value would see him as, "ingeniusly shrewd!"
Which are you?
It it interesting to remember how the 12 gates entering the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22 are described by visual-poetry as each individual gate being made of one pearl:
Revelation 21:9-13 and Revelation 21:21
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west....
21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.