“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, 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.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
These first two parables never made much sense to me. As a very practical person I could never understand why someone would sell everything they own just to buy a pearl. I mean, I’m sure the pearl is lovely, but where will he live? What will he eat? How would he even be able to keep the pearl safe? But as I think about it, maybe that’s the point. The Kingdom of Heaven, and the things we do for it, isn’t necessarily a practical idea. But it’s so wonderful that, if God asked me to, I would gladly sell all of my possessions in order to pursue it. I know God would take care of me.
The parable is NOT saying that ever Christian should sell everything we own right this second. Our society would cease to function if we all did that. I don’t think that’s God’s plan for us. But He does call some people to do so. And as Christians we must be ready to do whatever God asks, whether that’s selling all our possessions, or moving halfway around the world, or quitting our job to begin a new career, or anything you could imagine! The Kingdom of Heaven is worth more than anything in this world, and so we should be willing to give up anything in this world for it if asked to.
The third parable is really a shorter version of the weeds and the wheat. Same message. Though I notice Jesus still refers to Hell as a “furnace of fire,” even though there was no fire imagery in the parable. I don’t know what the people of that time would have done with bad fish, though. Perhaps they would have thrown it into a furnace… Still, the continuing fire imagery is impossible to ignore. When does Jesus talk about what Hell actually is? Hm.