With their demure style, twinsets and pearls are in and out of fashion. But by themselves pearls have remained one of the most valuable and sought after jewels since ancient times.
The so-called “queen of gems” was a symbol of Roman status, and to hunters of pearls it was worth its weight in gold.This is why, to illustrate what the Kingdom of Heaven was like, Yeshua* told the story of a merchant who sold all that he had to buy a pearl of great price.
This parable has often been misunderstood to mean that Yeshua is the perfect pearl we must seek after. But Yeshua is our salvation! We cannot buy salvation at any price since it is a gift from God. Therefore Yeshua is not the pearl of this story.
Instead Yeshua was likening Himself to the merchant and Israel to the pearl. He was telling His Jewish audience that He had purposefully chosen her out of all the other nations because she was tiny and unkosher, just like a pearl in an oyster. He was also prophesying that He would purchase her with His own blood, and that this would make her invaluable, regardless of the fashion of the day. Moreover He would ensure that no one would ever snatch her out of His hands!
* Yeshua is the Hebrew name of Jesus.