By Scott Franks
We are about to share a symbolic meal together to commemorate the death of God’s Son. But this isn’t a funeral meal, it’s a celebration. It seems strange to view the death of Jesus on the cross that way, but listen to how God viewed that sacrifice:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2).
That’s a striking description: Jesus “gave himself up . . . as a fragrant offering and sacrifice.” Consider that his sacrifice was on a cross, which smelled like blood and grime and torture and the bile of humiliation. And yet it was fragrant to God.
So, obviously, what pleased God about his Son’s sacrifice was not the actual combination of smells, but everything Jesus brought with him to the cross: obedience, humility, kindness, gentleness, and love. That is the aroma of Christ.
What does that mean for us as we commemorate Christ on the cross? It means that spreading the aroma of Christ may not smell very sweet to us. It may smell like dirty diapers as you sacrifice to take care of your children or other people’s children. It may have the warm, stale smell of a nursing home when you take time to visit people that everyone else has forgotten. It may smell like the onions you cut for the pot of chili you serve to homeless people at a shelter. It may be the overpowering stench of a refrigerator full of rotten food you carried out of a flood-ravaged home in Mississippi. It could be the amalgam of sweat, humidity, and cement dust as you build a house in Honduras.
Wherever we sacrifice out of love, that’s the aroma of Christ. All of it. That’s what people will recognize as Jesus in us. A lot of that stinks, but to God, it smells wonderful.
Scott Franks preaches for the Edgemere Church of Christ (Edgemere.org) in Wichita Falls, Texas. He also contributes weekly devotionals to the 728B site on Facebook.