A parable is a figure of speech, an extended metaphor, a story using common actions or circumstances designed to illustrate a spiritual truth, a principle or a moral lesson. The word parable comes from the Greek word parabole, which means to place beside or side by side for the purpose of comparison. A parable can usually be identified by the use of the word “like.” This was the method of teaching Jesus used most often.
Of all the subjects Jesus spoke about, the Kingdom of Heaven was most prominent. Dozens of parables deal with this kingdom which “is not of this world.”
Pilate directly asked Jesus Christ if He was the King of the Judeans. The following dialogue is only recorded in John 18:36 and 37: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Matthew 13 records 8 parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, each revealing a piece of the puzzle with a perspective to ponder. Two are similar — the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
These two short stories speak of realizing something in life that is worth more than everything else. The men in these stories discovered one thing more valuable than anything, and invested all that they had in that alone. There is an idiom of unknown origin, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This expression is a warning that one could risk losing everything by putting all efforts or money into one plan or one course of action. This was based on the idea that if all the eggs gathered from the chickens were to be put in one basket and the basket is dropped, all the eggs would break. In the two parables communicating the immense value of the Kingdom, Jesus was teaching about one thing in which one could safely invest all. It was a call to total commitment.
One version of the well-known “Acres of Diamonds” story is told of an African farmer who heard tales about other farmers who had made millions by discovering diamond mines. He sold his farm and spent the rest of his life searching unsuccessfully for diamonds. Finally, exhausted, penniless and miserable, he threw himself into a river and drowned. Meanwhile, the man who had bought his farm was crossing the small stream on the property one day when he saw a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream bottom. He picked up the stone and put it on his fireplace mantel at home. Weeks later, a visitor picked up the stone and asked the farmer if he knew what he had found. The farmer had no idea. The visitor then told him that he had found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer told his visitor that his creek was full of such stones, not all as large but copiously covering the creek bottom. The farm that the first farmer had sold, so that he might find a diamond mine, turned out to be one of the most productive diamond mines on the entire African continent.
For Christians, the Kingdom of Heaven is even more valuable than the legendary acres of diamonds. This was the cause for which Jesus Christ was born and gave His life. Investing in the Kingdom of Heaven is investing in the Kingdom of the Son. (Colossians 1:13) This is the most valuable and most protected investment in which any believer can get involved. The return on investment is utterly indescribable. In the future, as Revelation 11:15 exclaims, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Total commitment and involvement in the Kingdom is the Christian’s calling. It is the Hidden Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price. “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”