Finding Treasures “Carefully Concealed in Him”
“Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.”—COL. 2:3.
1, 2. (a) What artifacts were discovered in 1922, and where did they end up? (b) God’s Word extends what invitation to everyone?
DISCOVERIES of hidden treasures have often made headline news. For example, in 1922, after decades of painstaking work in a harsh environment, British archaeologist Howard Carter made a dramatic discovery. He found the nearly intact royal tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, containing nearly 5,000 objects.
2 As spectacular as Carter’s discovery was, most of the artifacts he found ended up in museums or in private collections. They may have some historical or artistic value, but they have little or no effect on our day-to-day life. However, God’s Word invites us to search for treasures that truly affect us. The invitation is open to everyone, and the reward is worth far more than any material treasure.—Read Proverbs 2:1-6.
3. In what ways are the treasures that Jehovah urges his worshippers to seek beneficial?
3 Consider the value of the treasures that Jehovah urges his worshippers to seek. Among such treasures is “the fear of Jehovah,” which can be a protection and a safeguard for us in these perilous times. (Ps. 19:9) Finding “the very knowledge of God” can lead to the greatest honor any human can have—a close personal relationship with the Most High. And with the treasures of God-given wisdom, knowledge, and discernment, we will be able to deal successfully with problems and issues in our daily life. (Prov. 9:10, 11) How can we find such precious treasures?
Finding Spiritual Treasures
4. What directions to spiritual treasures do we have?
4 Unlike archaeologists and other explorers who often have to search far and wide for their treasures, we know exactly where spiritual treasures can be found. God’s Word, like a treasure map, points us to the precise place where we will be able to find the treasures that God promised. Referring to the Christ, the apostle Paul wrote: “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Col. 2:3) As we read those words, we might ask: ‘Why should we search for those treasures? How are they “concealed in” Christ? And how do we find them?’ To get the answers, let us take a closer look at the apostle’s words.
5. Why was Paul writing about spiritual treasures?
5 Paul wrote those words to his fellow Christians in Colossae. He told them that he was struggling in their behalf so that ‘their hearts might be comforted and they might be harmoniously joined together in love.’ (Read Colossians 2:1, 2.) Why such concern? Evidently, Paul was aware that the brothers there might have been influenced by some among them who were promoting certain Greek philosophies or were advocating a return to the observance of the Mosaic Law. He strongly warned the brothers: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.”—Col. 2:8.
6. Why should we be interested in Paul’s counsel?
6 Today, we face similar influences from Satan and his wicked system. Worldly philosophy, including secular humanism and the theory of evolution, shapes people’s thinking, morals, goals, and lifestyle. False religion plays a major role in many popular holiday celebrations. The entertainment industry panders to the debased tendencies of the fallen flesh, and much of the content of the Internet poses a real danger to young and old alike. Constant exposure to these and other worldly trends can easily affect our feelings and attitude toward the direction that Jehovah provides, causing us to relax our firm hold on the real life. (Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19.) Clearly, we need to grasp the meaning of Paul’s words to the Colossians and take his counsel to heart if we do not want to succumb to Satan’s cunning schemes.
7. What two things did Paul say would help the Colossians?
7 Returning to Paul’s words to the Colossians, we note that after mentioning his concern, he went on to point out two things that would help them to be comforted and to be united in love. First, he mentioned “the full assurance of their understanding.” They had to be fully convinced that their understanding of the Scriptures was correct, so that their faith would be based on a sure foundation. (Heb. 11:1) Then, he mentioned “an accurate knowledge of the sacred secret of God.” They needed to advance beyond a basic knowledge of the truth and have a clear understanding of the deeper things of God. (Heb. 5:13, 14) Sound counsel indeed for the Colossians and for us today! How, though, can we acquire such assurance and accurate knowledge? Paul provided the key in his profound statement about Jesus Christ: “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.”
Treasures “Concealed in” Christ
8. Explain the meaning of the term “concealed in” Christ.
8 To say that all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge are “concealed in” Christ does not mean that they are locked away, out of the reach of anyone. Rather, it simply means that to find the treasures, we must put forth strenuous effort, and our attention must be directed to Jesus Christ. This is in harmony with what Jesus said about himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Yes, to find the knowledge of God, we must avail ourselves of the help and direction that Jesus provides.
9. What roles have been assigned to Jesus?
9 In addition to being “the way,” Jesus said that he is “the truth and the life.” This indicates that his role is much more than that of being the means of approach to the Father. Jesus also has roles that are vital to the understanding of Bible truth and the gaining of everlasting life. Truly, concealed in Jesus are spiritual gems of incomparable value, waiting for careful students of the Bible to discover. Let us examine some of the gems that directly affect our future prospects and our relationship with God.
10 “It is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.” (Col. 1:19; 2:9) Having been with his heavenly Father for aeons of time, Jesus knows better than anyone else the personality and will of God. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus taught others what his Father had taught him and reflected in his actions the qualities that his Father had nurtured in him. That is why Jesus could say: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) All the wisdom and knowledge of God are hidden, or are dwelling, in Christ, and there is no better way for us to learn about Jehovah than by carefully learning all that we can about Jesus.
11. What is the connection between Jesus and Bible prophecies?
11 “The bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying.” (Rev. 19:10) Those words indicate that Jesus is the central figure in the outworking of the many prophecies in the Bible. From Jehovah’s first prophetic declaration, recorded at Genesis 3:15, to the glorious visions of the book of Revelation, Bible prophecies can be correctly understood only when the role of Jesus in connection with the Messianic Kingdom is taken into consideration. That explains why many of the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures are puzzling to those who do not accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. It also explains why Jesus appears to be no more than a great man to those who do not value the Hebrew Scriptures, which contain many Messianic prophecies. Knowledge of Jesus gives God’s people the key to unlocking the meaning of Bible prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled.—2 Cor. 1:20.
12, 13. (a) How is Jesus “the light of the world”? (b) Having been freed from religious darkness, Christ’s followers are under what obligation?
12 “I am the light of the world.” (Read John 8:12; 9:5.) Long before Jesus’ birth on earth, the prophet Isaiah foretold: “The people that were walking in the darkness have seen a great light. As for those dwelling in the land of deep shadow, light itself has shone upon them.” (Isa. 9:2) The apostle Matthew explained that Jesus fulfilled that prophecy when He commenced preaching and said: “Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matt. 4:16, 17) Jesus’ ministry brought to the people spiritual enlightenment and freedom from enslavement to false religious teachings. “I have come as a light into the world,” said Jesus, “in order that everyone putting faith in me may not remain in the darkness.”—John 1:3-5; 12:46.
13 Many years later, the apostle Paul told his fellow Christians: “You were once darkness, but you are now light in connection with the Lord. Go on walking as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8) Being freed from bondage to religious darkness, Christians are under obligation to walk as children of light. This is in line with what Jesus said to his followers in the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” (Matt. 5:16) Do you appreciate the spiritual treasures you have found in Jesus so much that you would recommend them to others, both by word of mouth and by your fine Christian conduct?
14, 15. (a) How were sheep and other animals featured in true worship in Bible times? (b) Why is Jesus an incomparable treasure in his role as “the Lamb of God”?
14 Jesus is “the Lamb of God.” (John 1:29, 36) Throughout the Bible, sheep played a notable role in the remission of sin and approach to God. For instance, after Abraham had demonstrated that he was willing to offer his son Isaac, he was told not to harm Isaac and was provided with a ram, or male sheep, as a substitute. (Gen. 22:12, 13) When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, sheep again played a significant role, this time as part of “Jehovah’s passover.” (Ex. 12:1-13) Further, the Mosaic Law provided for the sacrifice of various animals, including sheep and goats.—Ex. 29:38-42; Lev. 5:6, 7.
15 None of those sacrifices—in fact, no sacrifice offered by humans—could bring permanent release from sin and death. (Heb. 10:1-4) Jesus, on the other hand, is “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” This fact alone makes Jesus a treasure that outranks any material treasure that has ever been found. Therefore, we do well to take time to study the subject of the ransom carefully and exercise faith in that marvelous provision. By doing so, we put ourselves in line for a grand blessing and reward—glory and honor with Christ in heaven for the “little flock” and everlasting life in Paradise on earth for the “other sheep.”—Luke 12:32; John 6:40, 47; 10:16.
16, 17. Why is it essential that we understand Jesus’ role as “the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith”?
16 Jesus is “the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith.” (Read Hebrews 12:1, 2.) In Hebrews chapter 11, we find Paul’s masterful discussion of faith, which includes a concise definition and a list of such exemplary men and women of faith as Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Rahab. With all of this in mind, Paul urged his fellow Christians to “look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus.” Why?
17 Although those faithful men and women listed in Hebrews chapter 11 had strong faith in God’s promise, they did not know all the details of how God would fulfill his promise through the Messiah and the Kingdom. In that sense, their faith was incomplete. In fact, even those who were used by Jehovah to pen the many Messianic prophecies did not fully grasp the import of what they wrote. (1 Pet. 1:10-12) Only through Jesus can faith be perfected, or made complete. How essential that we clearly understand and recognize Jesus’ role as “the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith”!
Keep On Seeking
18, 19. (a) Name other spiritual gems concealed in Christ. (b) Why should we continue to look to Jesus for spiritual treasures?
18 We have considered just a few of Jesus’ precious roles in God’s purpose for mankind’s salvation. There are still other spiritual gems concealed in Christ. Finding them will bring us delight and benefits. For example, the apostle Peter called Jesus “the Chief Agent of life” and “a daystar” that rises. (Acts 3:15; 5:31; 2 Pet. 1:19) And the Bible applied the term “Amen” to Jesus. (Rev. 3:14) Do you know the meaning and significance of these roles? As Jesus said, “keep on seeking, and you will find.”—Matt. 7:7.
19 There is no one in all history whose life has been so full of meaning and so closely connected with our eternal welfare as that of Jesus. In him are spiritual treasures that are easily within reach of anyone who wholeheartedly seeks them. May it be your joy and blessing to find the treasures “carefully concealed in him.”
Do You Recall?
• Christians are urged to seek what treasures?
• Why is Paul’s counsel for the Colossians still appropriate for us today?
• Name and explain some of the spiritual treasures “concealed in” Christ.
[Pictures on page 5]
The Bible is like a treasure map guiding us to the riches “carefully concealed in” Christ