God’s Treasure in Clay Jars

The Christian singing group, Jars of Clay, has given today’s Bible passage contemporary notoriety.

2 Corinthians 4.7But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

In today’s YouTube video Rudy Ross explains why God’s treasure in clay jars reminds him of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Scrolls that were first discovered in 1946 give added evidence to the authenticity of the Bible.

When the King Tut exhibit came to Kansas City, I imagined the packing crates used to ship the artifacts. The treasure was the exhibit, not the crates used to transport it.

In a similar way, Christians are the packing crates that contain the treasure of God’s presence. God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (Verse 6).

We carry in our lives the activity of God and our purpose is to exhibit God’s abundant life to others.

In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, Ben Witherington believes the clay jars are cheap, thin vessels used to carry lamps in the ancient world. The light shines best through the cracks in the pottery.

Transparency and Shining Light

I have read and re-read an interview with the president of a protestant theological seminary near Kyiv Ukraine.

Russian bombs have significantly damaged the seminary building. Many people in the area have been evacuated to safer locations.

I was humbled to read about the courage and honesty of this man of God. Here are three quotes from an article in the Plough newsletter.

Sometimes people ask, “Do you only help people from your denomination?” No, every Ukrainian citizen is my neighbor. At this moment, we never ask people if they believe in God, or trust in God.

But you are making a witness. Can you see people becoming more open to Christ through this?

I see a lot of satanic violence. This is an unprovoked war. But also I see how God is raising our country to extreme unity and collaboration. We used to have denominational walls, but now the partnership we have between different churches is amazing. I do see God’s hand in this – but this is very hard to speak about.

Have you been able to pray for the Russians at all?

I have huge anger toward Russians, but also pity, because one day they will find out what was going on. I don’t know how they will absorb that information because it seems like they’re living in a different world. But this bubble will blow up; they will be exposed to reality.

So it is about justice and about my recognition that we are absolutely dependent on God. When you compare the size of Russia and Ukraine, you will see that we are fighting a giant. The only hope we have is God. So, yes, I do pray. I don’t pray about peace, I pray about victory. Peace will be an outcome of victory. Unfortunately, with Russia, there will be no peace without victory.

I have been asked many times, “Why are you here?”

We have been serving communion for our soldiers in the open air. We say, “Thank you for your service.” They say, “No, thank you for your service.”

The church is present; we haven’t fled to somewhere else. And I think that after this war, many Christians, as well as secular people, will ask, “Where were you when we were being killed?” And Christian leaders will be able to say, “I was with you. I was here. I was in Kyiv.”

And it will be very powerful. So I think the church will be in a position to speak, and the voice of the church will be heard, because on the darkest days of our history, we stood together with the Ukrainian nation.

Thank you for reading the passages I selected from Plough’s interview with Ivan Rusyn, the president of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary.

I believe he understands better than most how God’s light shines through intense hardship to reveal his presence.

2 Corinthians 4.8-12We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed,

Always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.

For we who are living are always being handed over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us but life in you.

YouTube Video

In today’s video, Rudy Ross explains the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for our faith. You can listen to our visit on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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