2 Corinthians 4:7-15
7 Treasure is kept in clay jars. In the same way, we have the treasure of the good news in these earthly bodies of ours. That shows that the mighty power of the good news comes from God. It doesn’t come from us. 8 We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn’t make us lose hope. 9 Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies. In that way, the life of Jesus can be shown in our bodies. 11 We who are alive are always in danger of death because we are serving Jesus. This happens so that his life can also be shown in our earthly bodies. 12 Death is at work in us. But life is at work in you. 13 It is written, “I believed, and so I have spoken.” (Psalm 116:10) We have that same spirit of faith. So we also believe and speak. 14 We know that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. And he will also raise us up with Jesus. And he will present both you and us to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit. God’s grace is reaching more and more people. So they will become more and more thankful. They will give glory to God.
At first read, this passage reminds me of that late 1990’s drinking song ‘Tub Thumping’ – “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain’t never going to keep me down”. Or the exploits of Rocky Balboa come to mind, ‘down, but never for the count!’
But Paul is talking about something far more reliable and enduring then the human spirit of persistence and dogged determination. Paul knows what it means to be knocked down, literally. He has been abused in all senses of the word. He knows that he will one day be knocked down so hard that he does not get up again, not under his own steam. But there is nothing that can be thrown at Paul, not even death, that can keep him down forever, because Christ himself is at work in him and the Holy Spirit will raise him up for all eternity.
The work of death is not something we can escape as Christians, its gnawing affects on the physical body are a guarantee for all of us. God’s plan for his people is not that we would escape death, but overcome it. One day, just like Rocky, we will stand over a defeated and powerless ‘death’, and we will gloat over it.
Lord, in our lives, let the world know that you have conquered death. Tell them through us.
Written by Andrew Mellor