A broken vessel

This knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is spoken of as “treasure.” Note that word. How keen men are for treasure. They will go to the ends of the earth, spend money, risk life to secure it. This treasure is ours; but we have it in "earthen vessels, that the surpassingness of the power may be of God, and not from us” (verse 7).

God desires that the treasure should be displayed, that the light having shone in should shine out. How is that to be done? Surely, by the breaking of the earthen vessel. Just as Gideon and his three hundred men who carried lamps in their pitchers, by breaking the pitchers, displayed the light, and went forth to victory (see Judges 7:20), so the vessel is broken in our case that what has shone in may shine out.

The verses immediately following in our chapter show how this worked out in the case of the apostle. We see the breaking and the result:

  1. "Every way afflicted, but not straitened;”

  2. "Seeing no apparent issue, but our way not entirely shut up;”

  3. “Persecuted, but not abandoned;”

  4. "Cast down, but not destroyed;”

  5. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body;”

  6. "Always delivered unto death on account of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

So completely was this devoted servant of God under the influence of Christ in glory that he was hindered superior to all the onslaughts of the enemy. The more circumstances were calculated to press upon him, the more Christ was expressed by him. The breaking of the vessel was but the occasion for the shining out of the light that had shone in, and caused him to give thanks to God, ‘‘who always leads us in triumph in the Christ” (2 Cor 2:14).


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