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Treasure-filled jars of clay

For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:5-7

Paul from the text stated that his weaknesses and failures existed to demonstrate God’s glory, giving him further confidence in the gospel. It is the gospel that is being proclaimed and not his abilities and eloquence. This is why he emphasized the fact that believers are Christ’s servants. It was Christ who should be magnified in one’s life. He is the source of God’s revelation so we could know Him and realize our need of a Savior. If God, through the Holy Spirit, will not provide the light we will continue to remain in darkness. This is what the god of this age wanted; for people to continue to be blinded. “...the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It was through the divine act of God that provided us a way so we could be connected and be drawn to Him. This is why we live as servants of God for we proclaim Christ. Because of the light of Christ in our hearts, we have this treasure in jars of clay. The image of this metaphor is twofold. On the one hand, there is treasure. The treasure represents the new covenant ministry empowered by “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (4:6). Second, the treasure is placed in jars of clay. In Paul’s day clay jars were used to hold many different items. Paul had in mind precious items such as silver or gold. Paul viewed the gospel and its ministry as precious cargo and this priceless message was carried about in jars of clay. Paul chose this metaphor because it symbolized the reality of our lives as believers. We had received the incredible light of God in Christ and were commissioned to spread this gospel throughout the world on Christ’s behalf. Yet, this precious treasure did not raise us out of ordinary human experiences. We still face the weaknesses of physical trials and persecutions in this world. What was the purpose of this design? The grand message of Christ was carried through the world by ordinary, weak human beings to show that this all-surpassing power was from God and not from His servants. God works through us so His divine power will be demonstrated. It is God who should receive all the glory. The power came through weak instruments to demonstrate that it was from God and not from us.


Noel De Guzman

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