The pearl of great price

Sitting hillside, our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus says to us, first confess your own sin, then make a change in your life and follow Me, before you begin to work in the eye of your brother. (Matthew 7:5) Adding an illustration to capture our mind’s eye: Matthew 7:6~Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (ESV) These dogs are not household pets. They are not Dickens, Daisy or Daffy, who are my friends. These were rompin’, stompin’ disease-infested, scavenger dogs. No one was stopping roadside to pick-up these traveling packs of pooches. It would be unthinkable for Jesus’ Jewish audience to throw something that was set aside for God, to one of these dogs. Don’t take what God has cleansed and ruin it.

Mm, Mmm-mmm, MM! You done ruin it. Ever worked on a stain, finally, you got it out of your favorite shirt and the next time you wear it, BAM! Uhh! Jesus reminds us, you were cleansed and made holy. These, with dietary restrictions, were not allowed unclean animals. Clean animals have split hooves, cloven, split into two parts and most have more than one stomach. Although pigs are split hoofed, and quite tasty to a man of the South, to Jews they were unclean. Not because the roll in the mud, it’s not their fault they have no sweat glands. Leviticus 11:7~And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. (NIV) Pigs will eat anything, but grass. My cousin April and her husband own a couple of Krispy Kreme donuts in LA. Lower Alabama, Tuscaloosa to be more specific, and they take the leftovers and sell them to pig farmers, because pigs will eat anything, even pork or day-old donuts. 

Any animal having completely split hooves and who also chews the cud is considered clean, or kosher. (Leviticus 11:3) What does it mean to chew the cud? This refers to ruminating animals, like cattle, deer, goats, and sheep. Cud is the food brought up into the mouth from the first stomach, called the rumen, and it gets chewed again. However, camels, horses, and rabbits are considered unclean because they do not also have a split hoof, even though they chew the cud (Leviticus 11:4-8). Fish must have both fins and scales, so catfish, shrimp, and lobster among many other sea creatures are unclean to Jews (Leviticus 11:9-10). So, never invite a Jewish friend, say, Adam, over for dinner and say, we have two types of meat for you to choose from, catfish or ham, because he is just going to call his mom for a ride home.

So, who do the dogs and pigs represented in Matthew 7:6? They’re the unholy, the unclean people who treat the Gospel with contempt. When you tell someone about Jesus and present the Gospel, the power to change, to bring to life that which is dead and lost, and they just act like pigs and dogs. Never realizing the value of the pearl of great price. Matthew 13:45-46. Therefore, they trample them in the mud and mire. Unfortunately, there will be times when people coldly reject the Gospel. When this happens, I want you to do what Paul did when the Jews resisted and criticized him. Acts 18:6~But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (NIV) Yeah to quote a Pop Star, Just Shake It Off, and know that their eternal destruction is their own responsibility Ezekiel 33:16. At this point, Paul knows he has fulfilled his responsibility by sharing the Gospel. 

As you begin your prayer time, who needs to hear the Gospel from you. Remember, we share our faith and the Lord is the one responsible for giving us favor while sharing and the increase of those who will come to know Jesus as both Lord and Savior. So do your part by sharing your faith with someone today.

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