by GC WILLIS - public domain
I was reading in my Greek Testament the other day, when I came across something like this: "A traveling wholesale Merchant, going abroad to purchase wares, was seeking beautiful Margaritas." (ie...pearls)
My mind flew back to the fairest and loveliest Margarita I had ever known: but she spelled her name, "Marguerite," but it was the same name, only a different spelling. She was about fourteen, and she was as good as she was beautiful.
This Merchantman found her, and bought her, but the price was very high: she cost Him all things whatever He had: Yes, even His own life. But from that day her heart was completely won by Him; and when He told her that He would like to take her Home to be with Him in His own Land, she was perfectly content to go with Him. The day before she left on that journey, that some dread so much, I said to her: "Marguerite, the Good Shepherd will carry His lamb in His arms, on that journey." She gave me the brightest smile, and replied, "Oh, He does that for me already!"
Perhaps your name is Margaret, or Marguerite, or Margarita. They are all the same name really, only a different way of spelling it; and they all are from the Greek word that means a PEARL. And the Merchantman? I need hardly tell you that He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The word used here (Matt. 13: 45) for 'merchantman' is specially for a wholesale merchant who goes abroad to distant lands to seek his wares. But you will note that when He buys His Margarita, it is only one that He buys. Yes, He buys us each one individually. He does not buy as all in a heap.
In the parable just before this one, in Matthew 13: 44, we read of a man who found a treasure hid in a field. He goes away, and for joy of it sells whatever he has, and buys that field. The word used for sell in this parable is quite different to the word used for the wholesale Merchant in the other verse. Here it is a word that means to trade: but the word used of the Wholesale Merchant who bought the Margarita is piprasko,* a word used to sell, especially in connection with selling slaves: and seems to tell us that in order to get that fair and lovely Margarita He had to sell not only "all things whatever He had" — His Home, His Throne, — but, even Himself: as indeed we know He did: for the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me. That Wholesale Merchant was so rich, yet for the sake of buying that Margarita, He became poor: as poor as that poor widow who cast in the two mites, absolutely all the living she had: for the Spirit of God delights to use the same word for what the wholesale Merchant sold, and what the poor widow gave.
But there is another difference between the two parables in Verses 44 and 45: In the better manuscripts the man who bought the field sells "whatever he has." But the Man who bought the pearl, sells "all things, whatever He had:" Home, Throne, All Things.
I need hardly remind you that before He could get that beautiful pearl, death had to come to the shell-fish in which the pearl was found. And that shell was brought up from the ocean bed, at the risk of a man's life. All this must take place before that beautiful pearl can adorn the One who purchased it for Himself.
Perhaps I should add that, because "Thy Word is exceeding broad," we may borrow this lovely parable, and apply it to individuals, as we have just done, and none may condemn us: yet, the primary meaning of this parable, I have no doubt, is Christ and His Church. The beautiful pearl brought up from the ocean beds, at the cost of death to another, is the Church. The ocean speaks of the nations (Rev. 17: 15), and so the Church is formed from individuals gathered from the nations, to make one church, the one pearl. To find her, He traveled from His own Country to our poor, sad, wicked world: and to purchase her, He gave all things, whatever He had, yea, He gave Himself for her.
There is surpassing beauty in this parable, as we read it in the Greek Testament, a beauty which I suppose no translation ever can convey. May the Lord stir the hearts of His own, to read His own precious Word in the original language, which He has so graciously given to us. I suppose it is not until we reach Home, that we shall know the incomparable loss we have sustained, by neglecting the Greek New Testament.