"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Cor. 14:7-9 NIV
In this passage, it is the “jars of clay” phrase that always intrigues me. When Paul speaks of these jars of clay, he is referring to us, specifically our bodies. At the time this Scripture was written, clay vessels were very plentiful in that part of the world. They were used as containers to hold water or food. Yet sometimes these clay pots were used to hold things of greater worth, such as money, jewels, or even parchments. All of these pottery vessels were easy to purchase and broke just as easily.
Paul is making a contrast between the carrier and the content of the Christian message. The message of the gospel is precious and valuable like a treasure of jewels or light, but it is purposely contained in common and ordinary-looking human "vessels of clay." Like us. Not super humans but simple "clay jars".
And we all take a battering in our lives at times. As Paul says, we are “hard pressed on every side”, “perplexed”, “persecuted”, “struck down.” Can you relate to any of these words; either now or at some point in your life?
Living the Christian life doesn’t make you immune to such battering. Yet with Christ in our life, even though we endure these, we will not be “crushed”, “in despair”, “abandoned”, or “destroyed.” And in order for the treasure in our lives, the Christ who lives in us, to be revealed, the jar of clay must be broken. We may be broken but we are promised that we will never be destroyed or abandoned. That is the great hope that we can rest in.