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 the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:6,7
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all,” (1 John 1:5) the Bible proclaims. We are only beginning to glimpse the significance of this statement.
Light has played a crucial role in life since the beginning of time. The first command recorded in Scripture is, “Let there be light.” The response was immediate. “And there was light.” The Lord let light burst forth upon the waters covering the earth that was yet formless and empty.
It might take us a while before we say, “Wait a minute! The sun, moon, and stars were not in existence yet. That didn’t happen until the fourth day. Where did this light come from?”
The answer is, “It came from God, himself.” Later, he would place the light bearers into the sky. First, light must be created. It’s another thing to make instruments that will continue to send out the light. We can call them luminaries.
Shortly afterward, we are told, “And God saw that the light was good.” Indeed it is. Light is the fundamental condition for all organic earthly life. Without light and the warmth that flows from it, plant, animal, and human life could not continue to exist on this earth.
The great importance of light for all physical life is underscored in Holy Scriptures by the very fact that light is used in a figurative sense to designate him who is indispensable for all spiritual life. Christ says of himself, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).
So then, it might startle us to hear, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts.”
Can that be? Are we the bearers of God’s light just as the sun, moon, and stars are? Are we luminaries to planet Earth?
The heavenly bodies show forth God’s physical light. The people of God shine forth his spiritual light by their words and actions glorifying their Creator and Redeemer. One light is essential for life here and now. The other light is essential for life here and forever.
Our light reveals the glory of God that was given to mankind by Christ, the Savior.
That means we are important! That shows we can offer a critical service to the rest of the human race. We must do so—just as the sun must deliver its life-saving light to Earth. The only way the sun could stop doing that is if it lost its light—if that star died.
What about us? When might we no longer shed light upon a dying world? Wouldn’t it be when our faith died? When the light of God no longer shone in us?
That’s true! It’s sad—but true!
The apostle Paul, who was one of the greatest missionaries, who brought the light of the gospel to so many people, reminds us that we are frail. We possess the greatest treasure in all the world, but that treasure is carried in fragile containers.
We are not the Great One. We are not the Rock of Ages. We are not the glorious God.
We are jars of clay.
“Dust you are,” the Creator said. That applies to us now as much as it did to our first parents.
We can easily be broken into pieces. We can lose the light. The precious treasure of forgiveness of sins and life everlasting can slip from our grasp.
But not from the hands of the Lord of life! He has placed this treasure into our frail frames to demonstrate that the power of the gospel is not from us. We are reminded, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
Not to us! Not to us!
To God be the glory!
We are honored to serve him as mere jars of clay.
We must join in the song of the children, “This little light of mine. I’m going to make it shine!”
God of mercy, God of might, we are amazed but honored to be the instruments that show forth your glory in this world. Remind us often of the treasure you have placed within us. Make these jars of clay strong to preserve your light and allow it to shine forth in our lives. Amen.
Points to ponder:
- What would this creation be like if God had not created light?
- What would our life be like if God had not created his light of faith within us?
- What might we do to ensure that this light burns brightly in this jar of clay?
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Stillwater, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.