In the Pirates of the Caribbean movie the Black Pearl plays a pivotal role in the movie. Barbarossa mutinies Jack Sparrow for it, and Jack strives throughout the movie to take it back. There’s a treasure that is accursed and the final piece is also greatly sought after that the curse might be lifted. Both Sparrow and Barbarossa would give anything to attain that which they so desire.
In this coming Sunday’s Gospel Reading there’s a pearl and a treasure; these both elicit a response much like that in Pirates, and yet it is also completely different.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” – Matthew 13:44-46
From eternity God in heaven saw you, loved you, and wanted you to be his – chosen in Christ to be God’s sons and daughters. From our perspective it seemed that the devil had mutinied and won, but God already foreknew his purpose for us. God saw us from eternity, found us, and sent his Son to save us.
And Christ with joy freely gives himself up. He gave up his seat in heaven, his power by taking on our flesh. He continually gave up his time for sinners, for the sick, the dying, and dead. He finally gave up it all, and he, God in the flesh, gave up his life for us.
His blood purchased a ransom for the whole world, we his treasured possession, and it covers all of our sin. Now risen, Christ no longer gives himself up, but gives himself to… He gives himself to me, and he gives himself to you too. He gives himself in Holy Baptism, he gives himself in Holy Absolution, and he most certainly gives to you his body and blood in Holy Communion.
The devil fights so hard to grasp onto you and take you away from him who bought you. But we are Christ’s. We are his treasure, his pearl, his sheep, and his coin and nothing will take us out of his hand. Nothing can take away his gifts from us that make us his own. For the kingdom of heaven is like those things, and that means heaven. Heaven for us today, heaven for us this Sunday, heaven for us in word, water, bread and wine, and heaven for us when we die.