Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
IN THE TRIUMPH OF CHRIST
2 Cor. 2: 12-17
v14“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."
Troas was a Roman colony and an important seaport for connection between Macedonia and Greece on the one hand and Asia Minor on the other. Paul returned to Troas following his work in Ephesus on his third journey and the work was going very well while he was there. However, he was restless because of his concern for Corinthians. In the passage for our meditation, Paul is speaking to the Corinthians about his own distress and problems, and also the problems in Corinth. It comes out as a spontaneous outburst from the apostle’s heart; from a sense of failure and despair which he was feeling in his ministry at the time. At this point he breaks off the narrative of his itinerary and in his characteristic manner begins a deviation. That deviation brings out an amazing thought from within the apostle’s heart, which changes his focus from difficulties to God and results in giving thanks unto Him.
Jesus, the Triumphant Leader:
Paul says that he gives thanks to God because in Christ we are led in a triumphal procession. Paul at this point of time is thinking about the Roman Triumphs. It was a custom in the Roman Empire, when a victorious general returned from a campaign against one of the enemies of Rome, if he had fought a hard campaign and had defeated the enemy, that the Senate would meet and grant him a Triumph.
In a Triumphal procession, the victorious general marched through the streets of Rome to the Capitol in the following order. First came the state officials and the senate followed by the trumpeters. Then followed the white bull for sacrifice which would be made. Then there walked the captive princes, leaders and generals in chains, shortly to be flung into prison and in all probability to be executed immediately. To the victors, the perfume from the censers would be the perfume of joy and triumph of life; but, to the shameful captives who walked just a short distance ahead, it was the perfume of death, standing for the past defeat and their coming execution. After that came the general himself. Finally the army wearing all their decorations and shouting their cry of triumph.
Fragrance of Gospel:
Here, Paul takes an image from the Roman world, seeing Jesus as the victorious, conquering general in a triumphal parade. He sees Christ marching in triumph throughout the world, and himself in that conquering procession. In Paul’s mind, the knowledge of God is like this fragrance which people can smell as the triumphal parade passes by. So Paul thinks of preaching the gospel of triumph of Christ. To those who will accept it, it is the perfume of life, as it was to the victors; to those who refused it, it is the perfume of death, as it was to the defeated. Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to realize that he followed his general, Jesus Christ.
Almighty God, strengthen me to accept the knowledge of your words as fragrance leading to life of triumph, so that I would be the fragrance of Christ to others, who are unreached. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Being in the triumph of Christ is having accepted the fragrance of the gospel and to be saved like victors.
Dr P. C. Thomas
Christos Mar Thoma Church, Mulund, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church