May 15, 2020 – Friday
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
The introduction to these two verses says 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. Here the phrase jars of clay may also be translated as earthen vessels and in both cases they are referring to human bodies. And what is the treasure in our frail human bodies? The answer is knowledge or more correctly the light of knowledge of God glory displayed in the face of Christ as Paul stated a few verses earlier: 5For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
To what purpose is Paul telling this to the Corinthians and to us? The knowledge they carry within is the same knowledge we carry within, the wonder and glory of Jesus Christ and the strength they and we have to endure so much. No matter what life throws at them or us – no matter how hard pressed, no matter how perplexed, no matter how persecuted they and we cannot be crushed, brought into despair or destroyed.
The reason they and we cannot be crushed or destroyed is we have the knowledge that Jesus did indeed defeat death and so 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
The persecution and other troubles do not really matter if the Corinthians and we stay focused on the fact that 14we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to Himself. It is for this reason Paul was able to say to the Philippians in chapter 4:11-13: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances and I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation which is that I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Paul had no illusions that he was able to do what he accomplished on his own strength and ability, but only through his faith in Jesus and knowing it was Jesus who continually gave him strength to go on without being crushed, in total despair, or destroyed.
Matthew Henry summed much of this up by saying: Believers may be forsaken of their friends, as well as persecuted by enemies; but their God will never leave them nor forsake them. There may be fears within, as well as fightings without; yet we are not destroyed. The apostle speaks of their sufferings as a counterpart of the sufferings of Christ, that people might see the power of Christ’s resurrection, and of grace in and from the living Jesus. In comparison with them, other Christians were, even at that time, in prosperous circumstances. (boldface added)
Everyone’s circumstances, trials, and tribulations are different and often times unique. But we know, as Matthew Henry, stated our God will never leave us nor forsake us. As the book of Acts shows us the apostles, disciples, and believers were often persecuted, but God never deserted them. God often interceded and saved them from the hands of those who sought their deaths. Where He did not do so, He sustained and comforted them even in terrible times of anguish and death He upheld them.
These apostles, disciples, and believers and followers of Jesus, in the decades after His crucifixion and resurrection, set the example for us so we would know we could depend on God to be with us no matter the circumstances. In the heat of the moment and in the midst of our trials, we will be forgiven if we forget as long as we return to our God who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Enjoy the warming weather this weekend. If possible Go to Church, praise and worship the Lord in song and in prayer. Remember that God loves us so very much He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins so that we may join the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Heaven.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton