The book "Claiming the Corner" comes out this weekend and can be found on Amazon, Kindle and Barnes and Noble!
From Chapter Five: "Jesus presented two parables back to back in Matthew 13 that both have to do with assessing value: The parables of the treasure and the pearl. In those parables a person discovers something they consider to be of unlimited value, and they give everything they have in order to possess that treasure.
"The Gospel is priceless. Jesus did what no one else had the right or ability to do. Jesus purchased for us our salvation, our forgiveness, our right-standing before the Father. Jesus himself said in Matthew 16: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16: 25 – 26).
"Jesus places enormous value on even one person’s soul. What could a person give in exchange for it? The human soul is the intangible person, the personality, the ‘being’ we encounter in each person. The soul contains every person’s memories as well as the things they hope and dream for. Each soul is uniquely created by God to be part of his good and perfect will. Christian theology puts a high value on people as the “crown” of God’s creation.
Think of the contrast between how God values people and the value we place on human life today. We are learning a lot in our culture about human trafficking, its rising statistics globally, and how communities in the United States are among the places to which trafficked people are smuggled. Tragically, in the case of human trafficking, a monetary value is assigned to a human being, so they may be bought and sold ‘as is’. But people are dehumanized today in many ways. You do not have to search the dark underbelly of society or the internet to find evidence of it, either. We devalue others when we label them as immigrant, minority, liberal or conservative, or whatever label you might use to put someone into a convenient box. Think of how cheaply we value others for simply having an opposing view in some hot-button topic. We willingly define them and discount them.
"In contrast, Jesus put such high value on human beings that he became one of us. He stepped into our human experience so he may enter our suffering and give his life for us. He counted his life as nothing; he gave his all, everything he had, to possess us. He did all this so that, as we place our faith in him, he can share his inheritance with us as the Son of God. No one offers what Jesus offers. No one –– period.
"And that is what leads us to the second compelling interpretation of the parable. The merchant in the story who sold everything to possess the pearl, the man who discovered the treasure and was willing to trade all his money and possessions to purchase the field –– that man is Jesus. The pearl of great price is you. Jesus paid it all so he may have you as his treasure. Now that is some good news!