Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52
The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
What was the difference between Paul and Jesus? (Besides the obvious, that Jesus is the eternal Son of God…) It was this: Jesus told parables, Paul didn’t. But if we could apply just one of Jesus’ parables to Paul, I think the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price would be a good contender.
Surely Paul was like the merchant: when he found the secret of the kingdom, that Jesus crucified and risen is the longed-for Messiah, he turned his back on everything and followed him. Others may have said he was a fool, they might say he threw everything away for this Jesus of Nazareth. But once Paul found his Pearl of Great Price he could pen the great eighth chapter of Romans and proclaim this wonderful, liberating truth:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God…
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword…[nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is indeed a prize worth living for. This is a prize worth losing everything else for.
Paul’s confidence in the Lord Jesus is such that he has even become convinced that
all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Which things work together for good? All things. Not just some things, and not even most things. All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.