The other night I was reading the second letter Paul wrote to the church in Corinth and I came across this passage:
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 cor 2:14-15
When I hit the word fragrance I said, “What??! Jesus smells?” I guess it’s true though, because sometimes I’ve been standing next to someone in church praying and I’ve thought I smelled their B.O., but I guess according to Paul it was just Jesus. And other times I’ve been in church bathrooms that didn’t smell so good, but now it all makes sense.
Ok. I’m being fecetious, and I’m also an idiot, but think about it. Whenever you’ve thought of Jesus and how he interacts with us, have you ever thought of a ‘fragrance’ or an ‘aroma’?? I will have to admit, I’ve never made that connection. But I read a note in my bible about this passage, and I think it opened up some understanding.
“In Roman times, a magnificent procession would be hosted in honor of a victorious general, the highest military honor he could obtain. He would enter the city in a chariot, followed by the senate and magistrates, musicians, the spoils of his victory and the captives in chains. Sacrifices were made to Jupiter, and incense was burned by the priests. Paul undoubtedly had such a procession in mind when he wrote these words.”
When Paul says that, to God, he and his band of traveling ministers are the aroma of Christ, he’s saying that everywhere they go, people know that Christ is victorious. Everywhere Paul goes, it’s as if God is leading him in a procession– as if Jesus has won the battle, and taken over Paul’s heart, stolen his allegiance, and now Paul and his fellow ministers are on a parade through the city. They become the fragrance of victory in Christ, they become the aroma, the burning incense, that alerts every nose in the city that Jesus Christ has come to the world to defeat death and evil, to usher in the kingdom of God… and he already won!
Paul even says that to different people, the message of Christ’s victory on the cross means different things. To some it’s good news, to some it’s bad news. He says to some it is the “smell of death” but to others it is the “fragrance of life.” But regardless of how the news is received, it’s still NEWS. Paul says it’s worth sharing with people even if they completely hate the smell of it.
And I thought to myself, “I want to be the aroma of Christ.” When I meet someone I want them to know that Christ has won the battle for my heart. I want them to know that I used to live only for myself, but now I life for him who raised Jesus from the dead. I want to be the fragrance that lets people know there is hope. I want to be the scent that alerts people of good news. Wherever I go, I want to be the aroma of Christ… and I’m pretty sure they don’t sell that cologne in the mall.