The Potter's Field: Perspective in God’s Perfecting
Have you ever seen an actual potter throw clay on a wheel? If you haven’t, you should. Allow yourself a moment to enjoy the spectacle; Google it.
Did you do it? It is really an amazing scene to behold. I am impressed by how a cold lump of dirt in the right hands can be fashioned into something uniquely beautiful and well proportioned, or how the slightest calculation of the fingers immediately and drastically impacts the course of the clay. Perhaps this is why God commanded Jeremiah to go to a potter’s house to physically view the labor in action before making the proclamation, “Behold as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand” (Jeremiah 18:1-6). The visual is a strong portrayal of God’s perfecting on our life.
We are well acquainted with the spiritual applications at work here. There is great hope and promise to be found in the symbolism. What a comfort to know God is diligently at work shaping our lives every single day, gently, with love. His attention to detail is remarkable. Just like watching a potter, it is easy to admire the skill and care being applied. Yet, sometimes that perspective can become hard to find while spinning under the press of His hand.
As Jeremiah witnessed, God’s mold for our life is a process. He works and re-works it until His design is accomplished. As we undergo refinement, understanding where we came from can be a great encouragement when the turning of the wheel feels more like the Mad Hatter tea cup ride at Disney World. Take into account the following passage of scripture:
“And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me” (Matt. 27:6-10).
The context surrounds Judas Iscariot shortly after his betrayal of Christ. With Jesus now apprehended and condemned to death, Judas repents of his evil and returns his thirty pieces of silver before meeting his demise. Purchasing the potter’s field allowed the authorities to quietly dispatch of the bribe money spent to kill Jesus in a way where no one was likely to ask any questions. But the significance of these actions goes much deeper.
A potter’s field was where the potter would go to retrieve his clay. The clay soil it provided was unsuitable for growing crops or sustaining life, and so it consequently became the place where the outcast and unclaimed nobodies of life were buried. Aren’t those the very people Jesus is said to have died for in the first place? It was not coincidence that the blood of Jesus purchased that field that day. This apparent cover-up by the priests only further revealed the beauty of what God was about to accomplish thru His Son.
With humble consideration, we can see ourselves in this scenario, can’t we? The conditions of this field were once our spiritual reality. Our divine potter purchased us with the blood of His Son so He could pluck us from our dreadful resting place to form us and fill us with his purpose, glory, and love.
I don’t know the vessel God is developing you to be today. I don’t know how many more times He will break you down and reshape you or how many edges still need to be smoothed out. But I do know this: You and I are not where we once were. Today we are found in the Potter’s house, praise God!
Let that joy help in your surrender to God’s perfecting, knowing each turn of the wheel draws us closer to becoming a new creation in Christ, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.