The Hidden Treasure (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
Nothing beats a good Indiana Jones movie. I love the adventure, the characters, the mystery, and of course, the hunt for treasure. One of my favorite Indiana Jones movies was “The Last Crusade.” In this movie, Indiana Jones is on a mission to find the “Holy Grail,” the cup that Jesus drank from at the last supper, which was thought to have miraculous powers. The key to finding the Holy Grail was a journal full of secret information about the location of the grail that Jones’ father spent his life collecting. His father sent this “Grail diary” to Indiana to keep it away from the Nazis, who were searching for the grail themselves. This book, full of secret clues, was what eventually led Indiana to find the Holy Grail, which did indeed have miraculous powers. The powers of the grail were actually used in the end to save his father’s life. Yes, it is not only a great adventure story, but one with a happy ending: the good guys find the treasure, and most importantly, they don’t die.
The search for treasure—it is a passion that has possessed mankind since the beginning of time, and many have given their lives to search for it. Some are motivated by the idea of getting instantly rich or powerful. However, others are motivated simply by the challenge of finding something that no one else has been able to find.
It is this very thrill of finding treasure that is at the heart of Christianity. In the world’s eyes, following Jesus is a boring way to live one’s life. But those of us who do follow Jesus can testify that it is nothing less than a true adventure, full of all of the classic things one finds in a great adventure: mysteries, challenges, villains, heroes, danger, action, and excitement. (And just like the Indiana Jones adventures, we also have, unfortunately, snakes.)
This adventure is captured in Scripture in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. The words read like an Indiana Jones movie— “secret wisdom…hidden…before time began…none understood it…no eyes have seen…no ear has heard…no one knows….” Hmmm, just listening to those words makes me want to go find some secret treasure. Thrilling, isn’t it? There’s a secret treasure somewhere, hidden from ordinary men. But what is this treasure?
We see hints of what this treasure is in the passage. It is rooted in “God’s secret wisdom” (v. 7). It is something that “God destined for our glory before time began” (v. 7). It is a treasure that “God has prepared for those who love him” (9). Wow! Now I really want to go find it!
But the good news is that if we are in Christ, we already have this treasure in our possession. The treasure, as it is stated is “God’s secret wisdom” and God’s wisdom was defined earlier in this book as “Christ crucified.” Essentially, this treasure is the gospel—the message of Jesus who was crucified and rose again to become “the Lord of glory.” Jesus, and all we gain through Him, is our treasure.
As Paul says in this passage, while this treasure is hidden from ordinary mankind, it has been revealed to believers by the Spirit of God, who draws us to Himself as we place our faith in Christ. Part of the Spirit’s role in our lives is to reveal God’s truth to us, and the truth that is spoken of here is the gospel, hidden to unbelievers but understood by believers. We are given the Spirit so we might understand what God destined for us, namely, salvation through Jesus and thus, the privilege of spending eternity with God.
When Indiana Jones received the writings that were so sacred to his father, “the Grail diary,” he knew that he had been given something of tremendous value. In fact, upon receiving it, he said, “This is his whole life. Why would he send this to me?” The answer, as we saw, was that his father knew that the diary was the key to finding the Holy Grail. The treasure was secret and hidden, but Indiana’s father gave him the key to find it.
Our Father has given us the key to find our treasure: the Spirit, who has revealed the gospel to us. The gospel which is a treasure above all treasures…a treasure that will lead us to eternal life with God and a share in his eternal glory. And we, as believers, have had this treasure revealed to us, while unbelievers have not. In their eyes, the gospel isn’t a treasure at all.
One of the best parts of “The Last Crusade” was when Indiana Jones was accidentally pushed through a crowd into Adolph Hitler with the Grail diary in his hands, which Hitler’s men were at that moment trying to find. But Hitler, thinking that the book was just a simple journal of a regular man seeking his autograph, flipped to a blank page, autographed it, and returned it to Jones. Hitler held the key in his hand to the treasure he was longing for, but never recognized it.
The world, too, does not recognize the treasure, even though it is right in their midst. So, it is normal when unbelievers try to tear down the person of Jesus into just a simple man, for they are blind to the truth. It is normal when unbelievers scoff at your decisions as a Christian, because they don’t know the One who guides your decisions. It is normal when unbelievers live their lives according to the values of the world, for they don’t have the light of God’s Word shining in their lives.
But as for us as believers, we should be different. We should stop living like those who don’t have the Spirit and start living like those who do. We should not be caught up in the world’s philosophies and desires, because we know things that the world does not know. We may not have the Holy Grail, but we have something infinitely better. What we have is truly miraculous and has the power to save lives. And although the world doesn’t know it, the treasure we have is the treasure they are searching for. We are the adventurers who can take them to the true cup of Christ, where there is eternal life for all who drink from it.