Treasure in Clay Jars

Second Sunday after Pentecost

abstract-2179091_6401 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20) and Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18  •  2 Corinthians 4:5-12  •  Mark 2:23-3:6

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.


This is the second week following Pentecost and while we have been in ordinary time since Pentecost, this is the first Sunday that doesn’t have a name.  Last week we had Trinity Sunday.  For the next few weeks, we will be looking at Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth.

This is a familiar passage because Paul writes about having treasures in jars of clay.  What exactly is Paul getting at here?  Paul is writing to the church, explaining that Paul and his associates are preaching the true gospel – they are preaching for the sake of Christ and not of themselves.  Paul writes, “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts to we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”  He goes on to write, “We now have this light shining in our hearts.”  Paul is encouraging the church to continue to shine the light of Christ.  We are after all, a clay jar containing a great treasure.  The bodies that we live in are fragile – just ask Pam.  We show God’s strength when we are weak.  The reason we are in these frail bodies, is that it shows that our power is not of ourselves but of God.

The early disciples and apostles lived under constant threat of death, but they wanted their testimony to be Jesus.  So much so that Paul writes, “that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.”  We see this in the testimony of Stephen in the book of Acts.  Stephen was so full of Jesus that the ruling council couldn’t stand it and covered their eyes and ears as they stoned him to death.

I love Paul’s words of encouragement for those of us who live in these fragile clay jars.  These words are echoed in an old Glad song called “All Things.”

When you go through tough stuff for Jesus remember these words:

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. For me to live is Jesus Christ!

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