In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul shares both the hope of resurrection and how painfully raw suffering for faith can become. In various degrees, we all face suffering as followers of Christ. Both external and internal pressures resist God’s purposes being fulfilled in and through us. Through the centuries, people have felt dragged beneath the tsunami waves of oppression as they have attempted to stand strong in their faith.
Without the hope of resurrection we would be destroyed!
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
The more clearly we understand this truth the more secure we become. Yes! We are only “fragile clay jars.” But praise be to God, within these clay pots we hold the greatest treasure, Jesus Christ. His great and glorious power dwells within us.
God transforms the firey trials into a kiln to perfect these humble “jars.”
Paul’s first-hand-experience qualified him to exhort and encourage anyone suffering through oppression and opposition.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-12
Waves of hostility and resistance strike swift and hard, but God is with us! And in a supernatural way, suffering connects us more fully to the death and greater suffering of our Saviour. He endured more than any human — rejected at every level and brutally disfigured before being crucified.
That wasn’t the end for Jesus. This is NOT the end for us either. Because of the hope of resurrection we stay the course, pressing toward the finish line.
“But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.”
2 Corinthians 4:13-14
Oh, what hope! What assurance!
Jesus conquered every foe. He defeated the enemy — even our last enemy, death. Because Jesus rose from the grave we live, knowing that God “will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself.”
Shout the victory! The hope of resurrection strengthens and empowers us to live each day in confident assurance. Assurance placed not in “fragile clay jars” but in the great power of God.
Life will not always be as it is today. You will conqueror because He came and conquered. You will rise victorious, because He rose victorious. Let God’s truth penetrate every cell of your being. Though you may feel pressed, perplexed, and knocked down, God walks with you — lifting you up and carrying you in your weakness.
Hope of Resurrection
Because we hold fast to the hope of resurrection, we possess the courage and tenacity to keep going. Despite the daily pressing of world systems, our corrupted flesh, and evil spiritual forces, we set our faces as flint, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. We do not lose heart, holding fast the hope of resurrection.
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Daily, we choose our focal point. The more we look at something, the larger it becomes in our hearts and minds. Will we focus on “present troubles?” Or will we “fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen” and the future glory that “vastly outweighs” every trouble and trial we endure.
The more we focus on this world, the more confused, frustrated, and defeated we will become. But the more we fix our gaze to eternal things, the more strength and encouragement we gain from the hope of resurrection.
May God’s promise settle firmly within us. May His truth anchor us through every season.
Father may the hope of resurrection seep deeply into each one of Your precious children today. You see us and know us intimately and personally. Set a guard around our hearts, still the storms within our minds, and heal every area of brokenness. Breathe Your resurrection life into faded dreams and forgotten destinies. For too long, the enemy has run rough-shod over the ones You love. Come gentle Spirit and pour the oil of Your mercy into every wound. Empower us as we engage in battle. May the same power that raised Christ from the dead work mightily in us. May we drink deep of Your grace and rejoice in Your goodness, knowing we hold both a great treasure and a great power within us. Grant us fresh vision — eagle eyes — to see clearly from eternal perspective. Equip us and sustain us. Bless us, Lord, holding us steadfast in the faith.