Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 21st

The Case of the Valuable Pearl

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46

The previous parable showed how Jesus gave his all to uncover the treasure that is Israel. Now we come to another aspect of the work of the cross. What other great treasure does God value in this world? For what else has Jesus given all that he has in order to obtain it? The obvious answer is: the church. Our Lord came to this world and gave all that he had so that he might obtain it.

It is difficult to exhaust the implications of that vast phrase: he sold everything he had and bought it. In trying to think through the sacrifice of Jesus, some think of it as a kind of commercial enterprise — the Lord paid the price — as though merely making a purchase in a marketplace. Or we dwell upon the physical agony of the cross. But this physical level doesn't touch the deepest significance of the cross. We only begin to understand it when we see the emotional experience of the Lord Jesus, entering into the human family, and on the cross identifying himself with our hurt and shame. It is even easy to sing about the wounds and the blood, but miss the depth of what this phrase means. It is difficult to grasp the hurt in the heart of God as he fully identifies with us in all our agony and extends his forgiveness to us.

Healing human hurt is God's business. The cross is God's answer to the hurt humanity has caused. This is a hurting race we belong to. All of us hurt ourselves and we hurt each other. We do not mean to, but we do. Our very efforts to satisfy ourselves and meet our needs damages us in many ways. Yet in ignorance we go right on doing the things that hurt and destroy ourselves and others.

So how could Jesus reach us? In order to have the pearl he so loves, he gave all that he had. He came where we are, into the place of hurt, heartache, loneliness, sorrow, shame and darkness, and became what we are. Paul says, He who knew no sin was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Sin is merely a label for all the wrongdoing and the misery of mankind. On the cross, Jesus took on all our aching loneliness, heartache, misery, rejection, and despair, and the awful hostility that our sin engendered. He felt the condemnation of a righteous God. He gave all that he had, and now when he comes to us in our hurt, he can say, I know just how you feel. I've been right there. I understand. He can put his hand upon us and begin to lead us out.

That is what Jesus is telling us in this parable. He came and give all that he had so that he might know the aching agony of all we go through, and thus be able to heal us, to minister to us, to clothe us with his own beauty, to wash away with his own blood our wounds, our sins, our guilt, to cleanse us, and to impart his life to us so that we might become more and more like him.

Thank you, Father, for your healing hand of love and grace which transforms the very thing that injures me and makes it into a thing of beauty.

Life Application

Am I hiding, or am I giving my Lord intimate access to my heart that he might heal the hurts there?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Case of the Valuable Pearl

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