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Origin of a name

July 10, 2009

I well remember attending a preaching workshop at College Church of Wheaton, Illinois where Kent Hughes was speaking from 2 Cor. 4:1-7. The idea Paul is expressing there is of the ministry of the Gospel given to us to make known to others.  And what are we?  Verse 7 makes it abundanatly clear:  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay.”  I am graced to be a clay jar in which the Gospel of  “Jesus Christ as Lord” (v. 5) is deposited.

Dr. Hughes explained the portrait Paul paints here so movingly that I hope I never forget it.  He writes in his commentary “2 Corinthians:  Power in Weakness”

Clay jars were the throwaway containers of the ancient world, so that their life spans were generally a few years at most. . . .  Earthenware jars were an anonymous part of everyday living as they were used for cooking and eating and drinking and storing leftovers. . . . No one took note of clay jars any more than we would a fast-food container. They were simply there for convenience. It was no great tragedy when such vessels were broken. They were cheap and easy to replace.

As such, jars of clay provided Paul with a penetrating metaphor for his and his followers’ humanity. Indeed Adam was formed out of the dust of the ground, and to dust he returned (cf. Genesis 2:7; 3:19). As clay jars we are all frail, weak, transitory mortals (p. 89, emphasis mine).

There is a divine reason for this which I will reflect upon with you next time.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    July 16, 2009 11:08 AM

    Great name, Steve. I like it.

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