Hello everybody… Today we’re talking about treasure and a treasure map…
You may have heard of star maps before, which show the addresses of Celebrities. You can drive by all the their fancy houses in a big city and see where they live.
Well, today I want to talk about a different kind of a star… a star which is actually map itself… It’s a treasure map to the greatest Star in the Cosmos… He's a person… the most glorious person in the Universe. He came to the world and should have been recognized as the greatest celebrity in the world but… instead... was despised and rejected, beaten, and crucified and killed by the ones he came to reveal himself to for their pleasure and his glory.
But, this story is not just about death but also about great joy…
Lets get to in then… Most all of us know the Christmas story… How lowly shepherds kept watch over their flock by night and an angel of the Lord appeared to them… and after that a multitude of heavenly host... I want to highlight just a few verses today. In Luke 2:10 the angel said this to the shepherds:
Luke 2:10 ...Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
This night the shepherds received the greatest good news ever ever heard by man in the history of the World… It was that they might have joy… not just joy but great joy!!! It was joy not for the sake of joy but it was for the treasure they were told of. You might say the angel gave the shepherds a treasure map you might say… or directions to the greatest treasure in the Universe! The bible says the shepherds were in the same region as Bethlehem so maybe a few miles out of town; and the angel told them to go to go there…
How did the shepherds respond to this news? Did they believe the angel? Picking up in verse 16.
...16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
And so the greatest treasure in the Universe had arrived. They responded with belief and delight and obedience... they went with haste to find this treasure.
But they also responded in other ways… Not only did they worship God with great joy… They also told others about seeing the angels and the long awaited Messiah!
17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. ...20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
So they responded with joy in worship and they also responded by telling others about Jesus.
Later, wise men came from the East. They had likely traveled hundreds of miles. It is possible they had studied works of Daniel the Prophet who had lived in the Persian Empire and to whom God had given a timeline of the coming Messiah. Nevertheless, though they came from much farther away than the shepherds, somehow God had also given them a map to find the greatest treasure in the Universe… a star map if you will... And so they followed the star which he told them to...
Matthew 2:9 ...And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
There’s that word again… joy; great joy. So like the shepherds… the wise men also rejoiced with great joy. And when we are given eyes to see Jesus as the greatest treasure in the world… then we’re going to choose Jesus over the promises of the world… and he’s going to give us great joy.
11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
So again, the wise men carried great worldly treasures with them and… with great joy they laid them before Jesus. Not treasuring the world they received the greatest treasure in the Universe… and that was Jesus.
Now we fast forward in time around 30 years… In Mark 10 a rich young ruler came to this same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem… Did he come, like the shepherds and wise men… looking for the greatest treasure in the Universe? We will see… He ask Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. I’m not sure the young man truly knew what eternal life was.
What is eternal life? Eternal life is being connected to God, having fellowship with him and being accepted by him forever… That’s true life… We can only do that through Jesus Christ. He was born in Bethlehem and lived a perfect life as the prophets said… And so we can be accepted by God he gives his goodness to all who delight in him as the greatest treasure… greater than anything else the world might offer… That means success, friends, popularity, power, lust, pornography, wealth, lots of stuff… long life, even health...
But… The young ruler apparently thought there was something he could do to get Eternal life… If he was just good enough. He told Jesus how he was a keeper of the commandments of Moses. Can anyone tell me what the first of the 10 commandments is?
Exodus 20:3“You shall have no other gods before me.
Do you think this young man had made himself some kind of god that he had put before the true God?
Jesus knew what the greatest treasure in this young rulers life was…
Mark 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
What do you think he did?
Mark 10:22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
He missed out on the greatest treasure in the Universe. He had made his earthly possessions his great treasure.
And did he find joy like the shepherds and wise men? No. Did he find the great joy promised by the Angel? No. He went away sorrowful.
Now I want to close by reading a one verse parable that Jesus told and then I’ll pray.
Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.