This week the Bible study that I teach was learning about 2 Corinthians Chapter 4. The verse that truly caught my attention that I felt the need to dig into was from verse 7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” Specifically, the treasure in jars of clay intrigued me.
I began researching many things. First, I wanted to look into how clay jars were used in Paul’s day. I learned this was common earthen pottery that has been used for centuries as clay is found on every continent in the world. The clay pots were essential to hold food and drinks. This type of pottery was inexpensive to all so it was a very common staple of any household.
We know that clay when mixed with water can be formed into a variety of shapes. Additionally, the object can then be placed in the fire to harden it so it can be used. As I thought about how this basic essential product, clay is abundantly found all over the world, God certainly knew what He was doing by providing us with this substance. And, clay, of course, is made from a variety of earthen minerals. There are even specific clays like Bentonite that hold many healing properties.
Let’s look back at Genesis 2:7, “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” God created us from the dust He created. Cool right? God breathed His breath into the dust and we know that breath contains moisture. God formed us, directly from the clay of the ground and formed us. We also know that when we accept His Son and are baptized by the Holy Spirit, we are transformed into a new creation. Essentially, we are formed and shaped into the new creation of a Christian.
Likewise, the trials of life will come. As we experience the firey circumstances of life, we are refined and become stronger in our faith. Just like the pottery that is fired under intense heat, we will also experience intense heat as we like Paul, will go through tough trials.
Now, let’s focus on the part about the treasure. What is this treasure that Paul is telling us is in these jars of clay? Well, it’s a beautiful metaphor that Paul is using to tell us, fellow believers, that Jesus is THE treasure and that He resides within each of us the moment we accept Him into our lives! How about that? And, what an amazing thought–each of us has been given the treasure of Jesus within our inner being. God counts us as worthy vessels to house His most important treasure! Amen!