Colossians Part Two Dive
THE GREAT TREASURE HUNT
There is this innate desire in all of us for a treasure hunt; to search for something that is prized, that is valuable, that is hidden and to do everything we can to find it. The children’s game Hide and Seek shows how natural this is in us from a very early age. The moment of joy and laughter when you find what you were searching for. The hidden is revealed to you. I used to love Easter and the Easter Bunny hunt. My Easter eggs were always strewn strategically around our front and back yard. Waking up Easter morning and spending the next ten minutes madly scrambling and finding them was so much fun!
Paul recognises that desire and taps into it in the letter of Colossians. As we learnt last week, the false teachers were leading the people astray. Amongst a lot of bad teachings, they were preaching that only special people could join the hunt for wisdom. Everyone else had to just sit on the sidelines of the treasure hunt for truth and wisdom and wait for the ‘special enlightened ones’ to bring back the hidden gems (or Easter eggs) that they found. So Paul, with his bull-in-a-china-shop tact, smashes this apart!
Col. 1:26 The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. The them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The mystery that was hidden for ages and generations is disclosed to the Lord’s people. God has chosen them to show the amazing mystery to and let me tell you what the hidden treasure was: Christ in you! Jesus Christ is the treasure found at the end of the hunt and anyone can discover it! He continues...
Col. 2:2 That they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Paul equalises the access to knowledge and to wisdom in Christ. In a Greek society that made wisdom exclusive to the elite, the rich, those who had access or money to pay for philosophers to educate their young men. Wisdom and knowledge were for the ‘enlightened ones’ and it certainly was not for you if you were poor or female. But once again, Paul shows how Christ doesn’t discriminate on status, wealth or gender – we all have access to the mystery of this wisdom, the hidden knowledge that everyone is so profusely searching for. It has been given freely to you. So how do you get it?
Col. 1:9-10 We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God...
The Holy Spirit gives this knowledge to you. And whose knowledge is it? God’s! How great is this letter! Through the Holy Spirit (which everyone can have), you can be given the knowledge of God and find the treasure that you have been searching for your whole life, the mystery revealed – Jesus! He is the answer to all your questions: the meaning of life – Jesus. The light in the darkness – Jesus. The mystery of how we are created – Jesus. The mystery of the creation of the world – Jesus. The answer to all the cosmological debates – Jesus. The answer to all the philosophical debates – Jesus!
Paul doesn’t stop the revolution there, there is one more level. He reveals that we, in Christ, have been shown the mystery but unlike the Greeks who flaunt their wisdom on soap boxes to gain notoriety and fame, we are called to live lives of humility.
Col. 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Col. 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
This is so Paul. He is encouraging that now that you gain wisdom and understanding by the Spirit, you have the mystery revealed to you, the great treasure has been given to you and you are God’s chosen people, don’t be arrogant with the wisdom that He has given you. Walk in humility, compassion, kindness, let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.
I meet some people in the academic world that have used their wisdom for the wrong reasons and you can hear it as soon as they open their mouth. They use their wisdom to feel superior to others, they have a sense of being better than others because they are more educated. On the other hand, and in complete contrast, I have met some of the smartest people with doctorates who are so lovely, so humble, who use their knowledge to encourage people, to support, uplift and guide people into truth.
This is Paul’s cry in Colossians: don’t be like the false teachers who are making wisdom exclusive, dividing the body of Christ with some who are more ‘spiritual’ than others. Everyone has the mystery revealed to them, we all found the treasure, now we need to act as one family in humility, love and compassion.
The more I study, the more humbled I am that I know very little, and the more I realise that God is so much bigger, more loving, more incredible than I first realised. The more I study His Word, the more I am on my knees in awe of Him! So as you read Colossians, hear the heart of Paul against the Greco-Roman world of the ‘wisely’ arrogant and live as he instructs.
Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.