I own very little jewelry. I have only one item that is of any value to me which my ex-husband bought for me three decades ago…a string of pearls. I was never very fond of jewelry because, for whatever reason, it made me feel ‘confined’ in some way. The only other item I have is a ring that belonged to my great grandmother which is of little value monetarily, but of great value to me personally.
I read an article today based on a Scripture that says: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (MT. 13:45-46). Now I have always been taught that this meant that the merchant was a person like you and me, and that the pearl was the Kingdom of Heaven. The author of this article showed how other Scriptures do not back up this teaching. Instead, he showed how the ‘pearl’ is actually you and me, and that the merchant is Jesus Who gave His all to purchase us. I had never heard this perspective before, but it got my attention so I thought I’d dig a bit deeper.
The first thing I noticed is that a pearl is hidden in a hardened unattractive shell. The shell in itself is not something that a person would be drawn to; it’s not very appealing. Yet, hidden within this shell is an object of great value and beauty. That led me to IS. 53:3 “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” I then found an article by Dr. Orman L. Norwood:
During the ministry of Jesus, the following description was sent by the President of Judea, Publius Lentulus, to the senate of Rome. This quote is from an ancient Roman manuscript:
There lives a man of singular character whose name is Jesus Christ, in Judea. The barbarians esteem him as a prophet, but his own followers adore him as the immediate offspring of the immortal God. He is endowed with such unparalleled virtue as to call the dead from their graves, and to heal every kind of disease with a word or touch. This person is tall and elegantly shaped; his aspect is amiable and reverent; his hair flows into those beautiful shades which no united colour can match, falling into graceful curves below his ears, agreeable couching upon his shoulders, and every parting on his head like the head of a Nazarite.
His forehead is smooth and large. His cheeks without either spot, save that of a lovely red; his nose is smooth and formed with exquisite symmetry; his beard is thick and of a colour suitable to the hair of his head, reaching a little below the chin, and parted in the middle like a fork. He rebukes with majesty, commands with mildness and invites with the most tender and persuasive language; His whole address, in deed or word, being elegantly graceful and characteristic of so exalted a being.
No man has ever seen him laugh, but many have seen him weep, and so persuasive are his tears that the multitude cannot withhold theirs from joining in sympathy with his. He is very temperate, modest and wise, and in short, whatever this phenomenon may turn out in the end, he seems at present from his excellent bearing and divine perfection, in every way surpassing the children of men.
He is “altogether lovely.” (Song of Sol 5:16).
Per this ancient writing, Jesus was a very handsome and lovely man. Yet, he was despised and rejected because of His grief. His grief is similar to that shell which shields that pearl of great price.
Having been an incest survivor myself, when I worked in the counseling field back in the 80’s I had a great burden for other survivors. I saw such as a black hole that if only could be ‘tapped into’ would release a great and powerful energy; a person of immense beauty and strength would emerge. To read this article this morning, and to consider the perspective that Jesus perceives us as pearls of great price hidden in a hardened unappealing shell, had a great impact on me. It caused me to understand a bit more of how greatly God loves us and how much more He values us.
We who grieve are not very attractive to the outside world. Some do reject and avoid us. They pass us by not knowing what lies within. They see a grey, cracked, dull ‘un-sparkling’ person from which they often look away. But Jesus sees us differently than man does. Jesus ‘looks upon the heart’ (1 Sam. 16:7). He does not reject us nor turn away from us. Rather, like that merchant, He gave all He had to seek us out. We are so very precious in His sight. He loves us that much.
At my son’s funeral, a woman by the name of Rose Marie who was somewhat a mentor to me, did something that I never quite understood yet never have forgotten. The funeral home was packed out that day; there was standing room only. I knew few, but they all had known my son. He had touched the lives of so many is such brief time. As the family, we were seated in the front row before his coffin. They began a procession of all present to pass by him and pay their last respects. As Rose Marie approached, she turned toward me and bowed her head humbly as she genuflected. I bowed my head in response and in acknowledgement. Now consciously I had no understanding of what was taking place. I was on auto-pilot still in a state of shock and disbelief that any of this was reality. However, periodically over the years this memory has presented itself always with a bit of wonderment and bewilderment accompanying it. Rose Marie saw things others often did not. She was a woman of much prayer who loved the Lord with all of her heart. What had she seen in me that loathsome day that would cause her to pay me such honor? I was nothing, a nobody, a shattered broken vase.
Mary, who gave physical birth to the Man Jesus, was a nobody. She was a simple peasant young woman; she was young and probably poor. She was not a princess nor renown. She was a small-town girl from the insignificant village of Nazareth.
The family was so poor that when she went to the Temple to present Him to the Lord, she could only offer a pair pigeons – the offering of the very poor. She could not introduce Him to the culture of the day. Being poor and enduring a forced exile in Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15) Mary and Joseph had little education to pass on to the young Jesus. (History’s Women)
I am obviously not Mary and my son was not Jesus. Yet, I sometimes wonder if in some peculiar way, we who grieve for the loss of our child(ren) have in God’s plan been somehow chosen and honored. Have we been selected to enter into the sufferings and grief, to taste a bit of what God the Father endured by watching His own Son suffer and die such a gruesome death? Is there something so beyond our understanding in all of this excruciating pain we have been called to endure?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I believe they are worth pondering from time to time. I will continue to seek; I will continue to knock; I will continue to ask.
Matthew 7: (NIV)
Ask, Seek, Knock
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))