“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (v7). Paul wanted people to see Christ, rather than focus on the gospel messengers (v5). The light of truth was therefore carried in “jars of clay” – ordinary people willing to be broken, like Christ was. Following their Master, Paul and others were “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (v8-9).
“So we do not lose heart” (v16). Though we experience suffering, “our inner self is being renewed day by day,” and one day we will share in Jesus’ “eternal weight of glory” (v17).