Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Aroma that Brings Life
“To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?” (16)
In this day and age, the use of cologne and perfumes is extremely popular. People ‘present’ themselves to an event wearing a fragrance because it makes one appear ‘pleasing’ in others’ company. In the Old Testament, several references allude to worship where the smoke of sacrifices spiraled upward to God. For every such worship, the head of the household would select from his flock the finest male lamb to offer to the Lord as a sacrifice. The lamb had to be without ‘blemish’. "It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD" (Lev 1:9 NIV). It is difficult to conceive that our God enjoyed the smell of burning flesh and hair. More importantly, God looked for the choice of a perfect, unblemished animal as representing the best that man could offer to Him.
In the New Testament, Mary offered to Jesus a costly sacrifice of praise when she lavished her most prized possession on the Lord. She won His highest commendation, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me" (Matt 26:10 NIV). He also memorialized this costly sacrifice. "I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her" (Mark 14:8-9 NIV). Here again, the costly and prized perfume is seen as returning to God the most valuable possession as an acknowledgement of His forgiveness of our sin and as a gesture of gratitude for having died for us on the cross, "She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial." (Mark 14:8 NIV).
“But how can I provide a pleasing aroma to You, Lord? We don’t do sacrifices anymore like in the Old Testament, and I am not able to wash your feet like Mary in the New Testament.” For the Father to sacrifice His Son cost Him everything, the ultimately expensive sacrifice. We were ransomed, not with perishable things like silver or gold, not even with fragrances, but with the precious blood of Christ. What must God have felt when the “aroma” of that offering, the sacrifice of His precious only Son on the cross, wafted up to heaven? What then, we ask, compared to Jesus’ offering, could we possibly give in return? What could be a pleasing or soothing aroma to Him? Ephesians 5:2 says “Be imitators of God...” Our fragrant offering boils down to love. We love God and people, but not the way Jesus does! We are reluctant to give our all, our best. We save back something for ourselves. Sometimes our offerings are often blemished by self-protection and pride.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the fragrance of Your Son, help us to share that fragrance with others through Your love shining in us.
Thought for the day: What is our relationship with God and with each other like? Does it need more fragrance?