The greatest treasures require the greatest sacrifice: our salvation, a great marriage, raising children and a great friendship.
Have you ever told a secret to a friend and realized that they shared your secret with several other people? There are those who know how to be discreet and there are those who do not. The mature friend, who understands the importance of restraint when it comes to a confidence, is a rare gift from God.
God shares His secrets with those closest to Him. He shared His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham and allowed Abraham to intercede for the righteous. (See Genesis 18:17-33). He spoke face to face with Moses in the tabernacle Moses erected in the wilderness. (See Exodus 33:7-11). Isaiah had a revelation of God in heaven and received the call to be a prophet (See Isaiah 6:1-9); but He does not share His secrets with just anyone. (See Matthew 7:6).
The temple in Jerusalem was built with three separate sections: the outer court, the inner court (also called the Holy Place) and the Holy of Holies. The outer court was for the general public. Both Jew and Gentile were allowed to congregate in the outer court. Only the Jews, however, were allowed to enter the Holy Place. The Holy of Holies was separated from the other two sections by a thick veil. The veil was a heavy opaque fabric as thick as a man’s hand. The High Priest was the only one allowed to enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Holy of Holies is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. The Ark of the covenant represented the abiding presence of God. Resting on top of the Ark was the mercy seat upon which the High Priest would sprinkle the blood sacrifices for the sins of the people.
These three sections of the temple represented three different levels of intimacy with God. Discussions about God would take place in the outer court. Teaching of the Torah happened in the Holy Place giving the people of God deeper understanding. The High Priest alone would enter the Holy of Holies as an intercessor on behalf of the people. The responsibility of the High Priest was to minister first to the Lord and then to the people. We are all called to be Priests and Kings. (See Revelation 5:10).
Jesus ministered to the people according to their interest level in the kingdom of heaven. There were three different levels of intimacy: the general public, His disciples, and His most intimate disciples: Peter, James and John. His approach to ministry was different in all three of these levels. He spoke in parables to the general public but explained thoroughly the parables and teachings to His disciples.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable of the sower. Later, His disciples came to Him and asked Him why He spoke in parables and the meaning of the parable of the sower. (See Matthew 13:1-13). His response to them is in verses 11-13; “And He replied to them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing; they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand.'”
Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one. Some people who approach Christianity are curious but never serious. Others may attend church but it is more for the social aspects than spiritual. They know “about” Jesus but do not have a personal relationship with Him. They rarely, if ever, pray or study the Bible. They cannot tell you what they truly believe or why. They live their lives led by their flesh (rational mind, senses and emotions) and their own desires, which the Bible says is enmity with God. The second group are disciples, growing in the knowledge of God and seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction. They desire to know the Bible and can explain to a degree, what they believe and why. The third group is made up of those few who are totally committed to Christ in mind, soul and spirit. They have surrendered their lives to His direction and live for Him, not for themselves. These are the ones of whom Paul spoke: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (See Acts 17:28a).
The third group would be like Jesus’ inner circle of three disciples, to whom He revealed His heavenly glory through the transfiguration. (See Mark 9:2-10). In verses 9-10 we see: “And as they were coming back down the mountain, He admonished and expressly ordered them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of Man should rise from among the dead. So they carefully and faithfully kept the matter to themselves, questioning and disputing with one another about what rising from the dead meant.”
The deep treasures of God are reserved for His true disciples who have the discretion to hold the secret until the Lord allows them to share it. The Lord is prophetic and what He speaks will come to pass. He must be able to completely trust His disciple with the protection of any secret or mystery until the “fullness of time” when He desires it to be disclosed to the people.
His call to discipleship is found in Mark 8:34-38. It is a very serious calling, one that requires faithfulness to what God asks them to do. Verse 34 begins: “And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself, [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].” Continuing in verse 35: “For whoever wants to save his [higher spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth], for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God]. Please continue reading verses 36-38.
John was called the Beloved disciple. He was the one who rested his head on Jesus’ heart. He was also the one who not only wrote the books of John, 1John, 2John, 3John but also the book of Revelation. He saw the revelation of Jesus in His glory returning to set up His kingdom on earth. Abraham saw the City of God coming down out of heaven and the sacrificial Lamb of God Who would take away the sins of the world. (See Hebrews 11:8-10 and Genesis 22:6-8). Jacob wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ for his blessing (See Genesis 32:24-30), and Moses talked with the Lord face to face, as friend to friend in the tabernacle in the wilderness. (See Exodus 33:7-11).
God’s presence is not earned, all three groups experienced the presence of Jesus. It was the level of intimacy that was different, and that comes from the deep longing in the heart of the individual. In every generation, God has called forth those, who would hear His voice and seek His face. None of them were great men or women; they were ordinary men and women, like you and me, who served an amazing, extra-ordinary, all powerful God! He is calling for those in this day and hour to come forth, to come up higher, to take their place in a long line of seekers who are willing to sacrifice all to meet with Him. The earth is crying and groaning for the true sons of God to rise up and take their place in the earth. (See Romans 8:19).
Deuteronomy 29:29 says, The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all of the words of this law.” There is a treasure hunter inside of you and me. Knowing Him and His ways is the greatest Treasure of all.