Jars of Clay

Read Together: 2 Corinthians 4

On Sunday, we began to look at the calling of the twelve disciples and Jesus’ first mission for them. Pastor Jerry drew our attention to the fact that these disciples were twelve ordinary, common men. They were unproven, untrained, and unremarkable. Yet, Jesus chose them as his first messengers to proclaim the kingdom.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul makes a similar point about his own ministry. He is a just a clay jar that contains the treasure of the gospel. He is just a weak, unremarkable, ordinary human being who has been gripped by knowing God’s glory revealed in the good news about Jesus. And God’s purpose in using clay jars like Paul is to show that the awesome power of the gospel comes from God alone.

Like Paul, we are weak vessels of the glorious news of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. As we carry out our mission, we must remember that the power is in the message, not the messenger. God uses ordinary, unremarkable people like us to showcase his power in the face of worldly pride.

So, we shouldn’t put our trust in our ability to make the gospel attractive. We shouldn’t lose heart when the world rejects us. We are simply clay jars, ordinary and fragile. But the gospel is a treasure worth more than anything in the world. So, while our outer self wastes away, our inner self is renewed each day in the hope of glory that we have tasted and seen in the gospel.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does Paul mean by describing himself and his ministry partners as “jars of clay”?
  2. What is the “treasure” that Paul says is in these clay jars?
  3. Why does God use ordinary, broken people like us to share his message? How does this give us courage and hope as we carry out the mission Jesus has given us?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “The Fight of Gideon and the Flight of Midian” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 124–27). Discuss with your children how God uses Gideon, an unlikely leader, to lead a puny army to rescue God’s people from their enemies. This story reveals how God often works: he chooses the weak to shame the strong and to show that it is only his power that wins the victory.

Memorization: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Song: Listen to “All Glory Be to Christ” (Redeemer Worship). We are jars of clay filled with the great treasure of knowing God—all glory be to Christ!

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is the almighty Lord of all!
  • Confess before God that we are weak, frail, sinful, and broken. We often put too much confidence in ourselves and not the power of God and his Word. Or we view our weakness as a hindrance to God’s power and not the channel.
  • Give thanks to God that he uses jars of clay like us to make known the glorious news about Jesus.
  • Pray that God would give us courage and confidence to share his truth despite our weaknesses.

Go Together

  • Near the end of his sermon, Pastor Jerry asked us: Have you given up sharing the gospel? Ask yourselves that question and consider why we sometimes neglect to share the good news with those around us. Commit together to start a gospel conversation with someone this week, relying not on your own cleverness or ability but the power of God manifested even through your weakness.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!

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