“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
People in Paul’s day would’ve known about triumphal processions. When a king or some other leader won a notable military victory, the whole city would come out to celebrate him and his troops as they returned home. All kinds of ceremonies and rituals took place to proclaim their victory, and among them was the practice of burning incense. The smell of the incense told the people in the crowds and neighboring streets of what was being celebrated, whether they could see the celebration or not.
Paul used this metaphor to describe the triumphal procession of the Messiah who through His death and resurrection conquered sin and death and all other injustices that oppose His kingdom. In this scenario, those of us who are in Christ, following behind Him in His victory, get to be the dispensers of the fragrance that tells everyone about the Messiah’s triumph.
I thought it interesting that Paul chose the sense of smell to describe us sharing the good news of Christ’s victory. Smell is a sense where you have to be present to experience it. You have to be among people, close to them. Not that it’s impossible to share the gospel from afar or from a stage or YouTube video, but how much more potent and effective is the message when it is shared alongside a person both in word and deed. When someone is around us enough to witness the reality of our relationship with God it becomes like a sweet fragrance - it may be invisible but there is no doubting it’s existence.
Join us on Sunday as we open 2 Corinthians 2:5-17 together and learn more about our “Triumph in Christ”. God bless you all and hope to see you there!