Broken Vessels: Restored in Christ

Week of Wednesday, March 8th – Tuesday March 14th

Author: Barb Torstenson

Vessel….   Webster’s Dictionary gives us several meanings for this word.  One meaning is a large sailing ship.  Another meaning is a type of tube or canal through which fluid can pass.  Still another meaning is a container or jar for liquids.  If we add the word, broken, to the above meanings, one can picture a sunken ship; a bruise on one’s body or worse, a massive stroke; and lastly, a real mess to clean up because of all the spill resulting from a broken jar.

In the Gospel of Mark (14: 3-9), shortly before Jesus is crucified, He is attending a meal at the home of Simon the Leper.  A woman, we later find out is probably Mary (Martha’s and Lazarus’ sister), approaches Jesus with a very expensive alabaster jar (vessel), filled with outrageously expensive perfume.  She breaks the jar and pours all of its contents on Jesus’ head.  Another gospel describes her pouring it on his feet too and wiping it with her hair. I think everyone remembers the outrage that some in attendance express because of the amount of money that is wasted in that moment.  Her act is an act of true worship, love and great sacrifice.  Jesus understands this and points out that what she did for Him will be remembered whenever the Gospel (Jesus’ atoning death on the cross for all of humanity) is repeated to a new generation throughout history.

Whenever archaeologists study civilizations, they meticulously sift sand and soil to find remnants of pottery that group may have used.  How excited they become when broken pieces of jars are found.   A lot of valuable information about those people can be gleaned from the remnants of their vessels.

The word vessel has been used in the Bible in still another way.  One’s body, in some translations, is referred to as a vessel.  In Acts 9:15, right after the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus, God tells Ananias to go to Paul and lay hands on him to give him back his sight.  When Ananias questions this direction because of Paul’s reputation of the persecution of Christians, God says to Ananias that Paul is, “a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (KJV).  It is no wonder that in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (4: 1-11), he uses the phrase, “treasure in earthen vessels,” (vs 7, KJV).  In more plain terms, he is expressing that the wonderful news of Jesus Christ, the message of salvation, has been entrusted to himself and other fallible human beings.  The NIV version uses, “treasure in jars of clay.”  Paul says that this treasure should never be distorted to please an audience. God’s Word must go forth in truth. People need to see God through us. 

I don’t know how you feel about your vessel right now.  Some days mine complains a bit too much.  I recall younger years when I could accomplish a lot.  But, this passage reminds us that no matter what state our earthly body is in, we have the responsibility of passing on the message of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the Cross. That message should be in acts of true worship, love and sacrifice, just as Mary did in our opening Bible reference. We can be assured that the Holy Spirit who dwells within us will give us all that we need to accomplish that calling.  Paul goes on to say that we can be persecuted in all kinds of ways, but we will never be abandoned.   We can be perplexed but never in despair, hard-pressed but not crushed.  As Pastor Sarah relayed in one of her recent sermons, we can be stirred but never shaken.  Our job is to reveal the good news and not worry about what is happening with this earthly body.  The all-surpassing power comes from God, not our feeble human attempts.  Are you a broken vessel?  God can use someone like you!

Worship Services

9:15am Sunday School & Adult Bible Study
10:00am Fellowship
10:30am Worship

Pastor Sarah Carlstrom
(church) 320-312-7729
(cell) 320-226-5676

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