Last Thursday night, our dear friend and brother, Jim Kirtley, went to be with the Lord and joined the saints who rest from their labors and await the resurrection. In 2 Corinthians 3-4, Paul describes the glory of the new covenant in the gospel of Jesus. Whereas the glory of the Old Covenant was veiled and fading, Paul says that the glory of the New Covenant does not fade and it is unveiled as we all behold the face of Jesus in the preaching of the gospel. But Paul says that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, in jars of clay. This means that we are hard pressed, persecuted, struck down, always carrying around in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus. But this also means that pain and dying and death are not reasons for despair but rather reasons for great hope. Paul says that he does not lose heart in beatings or imprisonment or sleeplessness or fastings, but in all of these things he expects the glory of God to shine forth. This is because the glory of the new covenant is that it is even brighter and it does not fade and it is unveiled. But since we have this treasure, this glory in earthen vessels in our bodies, that means that God’s glory shines forth not in spite of our suffering but actually because of our suffering. When our bodies are struck, when we suffer, when we die, those earthen vessels are struck and cracked and broken until the light of the glory of Christ bursts forth. And I cannot help but think of Gideon and his small band of 300 men attacking the vast armies of the Midianites by night. Gideon’s men carried torches in their earthen vessels and then shattered them as the trumpets were blown, lighting up the hills with the blaze, and when the Midianites saw the torches they fled in terror. Paul says that we should think of our lives, our bodies as earthen vessels with the torch of the Spirit inside, and when we are struck, when we are hard pressed, and when faithful saints suffer and die, we should see the glory of Easter bursting through. When Jim died this week, another torch burst out in the darkness, and we should expect to see Midianites on the run.