What is the Pearl of Great Price?

Pearl of Great Price

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The Pearl of Great Price, is a parable Jesus told about the Kingdom of Heaven. There is much discussion about what that pearl represents. Does it represent the kingdom of heaven which Christians seek for, or is it the Church, the Bride of Christ?

The Pearl

First, let’s discover what is a pearl. The pearl is the only organic gem created in a living organism.

An alien product enters the oyster creating an injury. As the oyster can’t eject the irritant the oyster protects itself by covering it with thin layers of a calcareous substance. Layer upon layer, slowly and in secret, a lustrous, iridescent pearl is formed in the depths of the ocean. The oyster must be at least three-years-old before it can begin forming a pearl and then the process can take from 6 months to several years.

Only 1 in about 10,000 wild oysters will yield a pearl. Only a small percentage of those pearls achieve a desirable size, shape and colour that makes the pearl outstanding. A good pearl is coveted and highly desired, because of its rarity.

The Parable

A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. If you read the parable of the pearl of great price in context, you see there is a sower who sows, a man who finds treasure in a field and a merchantman, Matthew 13. All three represent the reason the Son of God left His home in heaven, Philippians 3:6-11, to come to a Satan-energized world.

It is an earthly picture of the Son of God who earnestly seeks those who will believe in Him, Romans 3:11. The pearl of great price is His treasure, His bride, His body, His Church, Ephesians 4:26; 5:22,23. Something He was prepared to leave His home in glory for, submit Himself to mere mortals and give His life for.

Rags to Riches

The irritant in the pearl does nothing of its own, but out of great suffering an object of blemish-free beauty is created. Sin and death entered the human race through one man, Romans 5:12. Sinful man is flawed and without hope.

The sinner has nothing to bring to Christ, except to yield up selfish desires. The sinner can only offer ‘filthy rags’, Isaiah 64:6. Salvation is without money and without price, Isaiah 53:1, for it is a free gift from God, Ephesians 2:8,9.

Hid in Christ, we become a thing of great beauty, Colossians 3:3. Through Christ’s sacrifice we are cleansed and can grow into His image.

What makes a Pearl of Great Price?

Large pearls are rare and therefore more valuable. It means the oyster has worked on the irritant for some time. Time alone develops Christians’ character as they face and overcome the trials of life. It’s not works, but the depth of their faith in a loving Heavenly Father that counts, for without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:6.

High quality pearls with exceptional lustre, colour and surface quality, command significant prices. This makes them highly sought after. A Christian who exhibits the qualities of Christ in their life is a valuable light in a world of darkness, Matthew 5:14. A pearl that will shine into all eternity. A pearl so valuable Christ was prepared to give everything up to obtain it.


The amount you are prepared to pay gauges the value of something. The merchantman was prepared to pay whatever it took obtain the pearl..

We will never fully comprehend the terrible price Christ paid for His pearl of great price. The Creator became flesh and dwelt among sinful man, John 1:14, in order to pay the redemption price. A price that no other could pay, 1 Peter 1:19. Only Christ had sufficient ‘currency’, His sinless blood. He is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8.

Hidden Treasure

The merchantman knows the true value of the treasure that is produced in the hidden depths. Unseen the true church is being formed through the fiery trials of life, as individual ‘pieces’ submit to the working of the Holy Spirit. Together we will grow into the fulness of the stature of Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:13.

The true Church has always been hidden from the eyes of the world. Millions are compliant to religion, but that is not the personal relationship with the Father that Christ paid the price for. Many call themselves Christians, yet their hearts are not submitted to the will of God. Only God knows the real state of a person’s heart and it is not for us to judge, Matthew 7:2. Christ’s one desire is that we have a truly personal relationship with the Father, the Great I Am.

Pearl of Great Price Birthed From Great Suffering

It is the suffering of the oyster that produces the pearl of great price. From the suffering and sinless, shed blood of the Saviour of the world, the Church, the pearl of great price was birthed. Through one Man’s death, redemption was made available to whosoever will receive the free gift of God, John 3:16.

For all eternity the redeemed of the Lord will reflect the glory of God, Romans 8:18. The pearl of great price will take her rightful place with the One who purchased her for His pleasure, Ephesians 5:27, Revelation 4:11. We have all been given the gift of a free will and it is up to each of us to choose to accept God’s gift or reject it. The choice to be part of the Pearl of Great Price is always ours.

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Wendy Stenberg-Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a topic and sharing words of encouragement, particularly from the Word of God.

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