Bible Order: Joel 1–3
Chronological Order: Haggai 1-2
Jars Of Clay
There is a pop Christian group that goes by the name of “Jars of Clay”. I assume they took their name from a verse in today’s passage. I have written many times that Jesus did not preach a “prosperity gospel”, at least not in the same worldly way some modern TV preachers do today. Jesus told His followers that they would suffer for His sake. That doesn’t sound like a lot of prosperity in this current life. Now He also promised us a lavish eternity but we’re going to have to wait to receive those goodies.
Life, even as a Christian can seem very hard. We are frail physically, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually. We are supposed to be Christ’s ambassador’s to the world; you’d think we’d be more powerful vessels wouldn’t you? In the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” the action drives toward the discovery of the Holy Grail which is alleged to have been the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.
Toward the end of the movie, the hero bursts into a long forgotten cave after having defeated numerous booby-traps. Sitting on a ledge along the back of the cave are a large number of ancient cups. They are of different shapes and sizes and most seem to be jewel encrusted and made of gold. All but one of these cups are fakes, placed there to obscure the real cup. To save his father, Indiana Jones must chose the correct cup, for only it has the power to save. The old knight who has sat in that cave for hundreds of years looks at Indiana and says “choose wisely”.
Do you remember this? Just before he chooses, the inevitable Nazi comes in, pushes Jones aside and with the help of a beautiful, treacherous blonde, chooses a cup and drinks from it. This is quickly followed by the obligatory human face decaying to skeleton and then to dust right before our eyes moment. The knight looks up and says “he chose poorly”. Indiana then chooses a simple wooden cup. This is the cup of a carpenter.
Jesus didn’t come as a king. The King of Heaven had no golden crown encrusted with jewels, but rather a crown of thorns. He was not born in to a wealthy family, but rather a poor one. He did not die quietly of old age surrounded by a large and loving family. He died brutally in His thirties, spit upon, beaten, stripped, and hanging on a cross while a crowd mocked Him. You who have submitted your life to Him – do you expect better than the King of Heaven? Do you expect your reward here and now rather than in eternity?
Brothers, we are just human beings struggling in our weak and frail bodies, trying to discover who we are in Christ. We do have part of our inheritance already though. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit. His light shines brightly within us. We are truly blessed far more than earthly wealth can match; but this blessing, this treasure, resides in these frail pots, these easily broken jars of clay. Why? Why would God place such treasure in such lowly vessels? Why would He send His son to live as a simple carpenter’s child? Jesus came to glorify God. You and I, saved by His grace and following in His footsteps, remain for the same reason. We are here to glorify God. From deep within these jars of clay, God’s glory shines forth. It is He that gets the glory, not us. We in no way detract from Him, which is as it should be.
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 ESV
“ Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,  knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”