3 Things Jars of Clay Signify
Jars of clay were everyday items that the original audience would have been familiar with. Here are at least three aspects of jars of clays that would have come to mind for first century readers.
1. Jars of Clay Are Commonplace.
From cooking utensils to toilets, jars of clay were part of everyday life during biblical times. The average person probably had multiple jars of clay because of their versatile use in the homes.
They were common items that were made of the most basic material—earth. People from every class of society would have been familiar with and owned the vessels described in 2 Corinthians 4.
2. Jars of Clay Are Fragile.
Jars of clay also signify weakness and fragility. Since their material was inexpensive, they would break easily, just as we see with clay jars today.
It wouldn’t take much for a jar to be knocked over and to shatter all over the floor. In fact, in the book of Matthew there is reference to a potter’s field. This would have been a piece of land filled with pieces of clay jars that were discarded after they broke.
3. Jars of Clay Are Made by Hand.
References to potters and their clay are found all throughout Scripture. Oftentimes, the biblical authors are reminding their readers that they are the clay in the hands of the potter, being molded and shaped.
That is what God does with his people. He is the potter and we are the clay.
It is never the clay who decides what it will be or is able to turn itself into a masterpiece. The potter is the one who kneads, forms, and shapes the clay into a vessel.
God is the Creator and we are the created.