Matthew 13:44-50

Talks for Growing Christians

The Parable of the Treasure, the Pearl, and the Good and Bad Fish

Matthew 13:44-50

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Lesson Number 34

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. There is a difference between the treasure and the pearl.
  2. There is a difference between the Rapture and the Return.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t limit the luster of the pearl.


  1. Who was the original audience of the parables in Matthew 13?
  2. What is the “kingdom of heaven” referred to in these parables?
  3. Who is the man who finds the treasure and the merchant who finds the pearl?
  4. What do the treasure and the pearl represent in these parables?
  5. The good fish (true believers) are separated from the bad fish (false professors) at “the end of the age.” When is this “end of the age”?


  1. The first four parables were given to the multitude (see vv.1-3). The three remaining parables were taught to the disciples (v. 36).
  2. These parables speak of the kingdom in its present form. The kingdom is not synonymous with the Church; it includes the Church. The kingdom of heaven is the realm of Christendom, including both true and false believers.
  3. These both represent the Lord Himself. He gave all He had to purchase the treasure and the pearl.
  4. The treasure represents saved Israel; the pearl represents the true Church.
  5. The end of the age is when the Lord returns to establish His kingdom on earth, following the seven year tribulation. This is not the same time as the Rapture, which could occur at any time.


  1. Discuss why we do not interpret the man who found the treasure and the merchant who found the pearl as sinners finding Christ. This would imply that you can “sell all you have” and purchase salvation, which is not the case! Discuss why salvation is a free gift that cannot be bought. Refer to such verses as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5.
  2. Discuss the differences between the Rapture and the Return. The Rapture is imminent, meaning it could occur at anytime. The Lord’s Return must follow the seven-year tribulation on earth. At the Rapture, believers are taken away to heaven while unbelievers are left on earth. At the Return, unrighteous people will be taken away for judgment, while the righteous are left to enter into the millennial kingdom.


  1. The Church, represented in this parable by a pearl, is beautiful because of the layers with which is made up. Together believers add to the beauty and luster of the Church. Are you living in sin and taking away from the beauty of this pearl? Clean up your life so you can reflect the beauty God intends for you!

Key Verses

  • “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” Matthew 13:44
  • “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls.” Matthew 13:45
  • “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea.” Matthew 13:47

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