Jars of Clay

based on the LGG study, Enduring Hope / w4d5

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 / SOAP:7-10

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, 10 always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

The first question that begs to be asked when ‘soaping’ this passage is – what is the “treasure” mentioned in verse seven? According to 2 Corinthians 4:6-7, the treasure is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus. In other words, the Treasure is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

According to a commentary by Bibleref.com, “Paul has been defending himself from allegations of practicing falseness with the Corinthians. Some may have even accused him of being manipulative or a false apostle. To counter these arguments, Paul has emphasized his sole mission: to deliver the true gospel of Jesus and to proclaim that Christ is Lord. Paul insists that he and his friends see themselves as mere servants to the Corinthians for Christ’s sake. In his first letter to this church, Paul gave numerous indications that he was not interested in personal gain or fame” (1 Corinthians 1:10–17; 9:12–16).

BibleRef.com / 2 Corinthians 4:7-8

The next question then, is what, or who, are the clay jars? To Paul’s original audience, the clay jars would have represented something very fragile, and as Paul explained to the Corinthians – God used the fragile vessel “so that” everyone would understand, “the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” However, metaphorically speaking, Paul, in an effort to answer – or better yet – silence those accusing him and his team of “practicing falseness”, Paul was referencing himself and his team as the clay jars. Paul’s heart was the vessel that God had shown His light in. The same is true of everyone who names the name of Christ today, and according to Scripture, we too, have been given the mission to carry this Gospel message to the world.”

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Mark 16:15

So often it seems we are bombarded with ‘trouble’. Even then – perhaps, especially then – we can, like Paul and his team,, be reflections of Jesus. We must remember though, it wasn’t because of their power or strength but because of God in them; and as we saw in our recent post, it was also the power of God through the prayers of others.

Paul’s illustration of suffering was meant to help the Corinthians see and understand that what others were seeing in and from him was all about God’s power and glory – as the “life of Jesus was made visible in them.” This should have been evident in the way they handled all of their ‘troubles’, for through it all, even in their weakness and struggle, they did not turn away from following Christ and making Him known to others. They knew He had not abandoned them and they endured with hope of the “eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (15-17) to what they were experiencing now.


Do not let today’s trouble crush you or drive you to despair. If you are persecuted or suffering because of following Jesus, remember He has not abandoned you. If your troubles have knocked you down or simply knocked the wind out of your sail, don’t lose hope – for you belong to Jesus and to God the Father, and in them we cannot and will not be destroyed.

While it may not be easy to live for Jesus in this world – we must remember the goal set before us – and that is to make Him known. May all our troubles, and our responses to the troubles, make Him visible to the watching world.

Prayer: Response to God’s Word

Father, Paul’s words are challenging. I confess it is sometimes easy to lose hope or to despair. Yet they are equally encouraging to be reminded that You have not and will not abandon us. We belong to You and we will not be destroyed. These are the truths that help me to endure with hope. Guard us Father where we are vulnerable and strengthen us where we are weak – and in all these things grace us with Your protection. Through it all and above it all help us to make Jesus visible to the watching world. – In Jesus’ Name – Amen and amen –

Going Deeper

2 Corinthians 4:6

2 Corinthians 4:9

2 Corinthians 4:10

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