Treasure in jars of clay
by Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel –
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We 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 in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10 ESV).
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NLT).
Each year during the weeks leading up to Easter we show our ARC residents the Book of Matthew in the Visual Bible video series. Recently, we saw the Good Friday portrayal. It was a humbling and moving portrayal of the life, teaching and the last days of Jesus on earth. Were one to stop the film there it would seem that all the teaching, all the miracles, and the love shown by Jesus would have been a hollow lie. But there is more…
Even though we may be pressed on every side by troubles, we need not despair. Jesus is our example, and even though our bodies are weak, and wracked by pain, we do not give up, because God is on the throne and the resurrection power of Jesus is within us.
Life is full of paradoxes. The apostle Paul tells us, “This precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and not our own. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken.”
These Scriptures have taken on a special significance in the last few weeks. Many have been both saddened and moved by the brave and long battle over disease in the lives of two very special Salvation Army officers. Major Leticia Saunders and Major Sheila Bradley were incredible in their valiant fight. They had a radiant testimony of the power of prayer. In spite of the terrible effects of the disease and the treatments, their faith was unwavering and strong. For the hundreds and hundreds of people who have prayed and supported them and held out hope, in spite of the doctors’ pronouncements, there was an inner strength and peace given that has been truly amazing.
The testimony of these two women, who were wives, mothers, officers and deeply committed to Jesus, is a strong witness to the mighty power of prayer. And it is not diminished by their promotion to Glory. Their testimony continues to give encouragement to hundreds of people who observed their love, commitment and their quiet bravery. They will never be forgotten.
The living power poured into our life from above is the treasure. Our human body with all its flaws and weaknesses is the perishable container. But we shall be changed, and in eternity we shall have a perfect body, and we shall see Jesus!
Jesus promises: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die (John 11:25 NIV).
The last scene in the Visual Bible, Matthew 28:20, shows Jesus turning and looking at the viewer as he declares, “Be sure of this; I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”