Tuesday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

A Triumphal Procession and the Aroma of Christ

In ancient Rome, when a general was victorious in battle, winning a war for the Republic and later Empire, he was accorded the greatest award that Rome could give: a Triumphal Procession.  In such a procession, the general would lead his army through the streets of Rome along with captives and spoils.  The captives might have to walk “under the yoke,” a symbol of humiliation and submission.  It would be celebrated by the whole city and crowned with the usual pagan debauchery. 

Well, here Paul speaks of a triumphal procession, but of a different kind.  After his painful visit to Corinth, he had sent a heartfelt and anguished letter to the church by the hand of Titus.  He expected to meet Titus in Troas (in northwest “Asia Minor”) and discover how his letter was received, but Titus didn’t show.  So burdened was Paul for the Corinthians that, although “a door was opened” for him to preach the gospel in Troas, he was compelled to leave that city and travel to Macedonia in search of Titus.  Such was the pastoral heart of Paul that he would leave off preaching the gospel, where it was being received, to care for this struggling (and ungrateful) church which he obviously loved so dearly.  Having found Titus, he discovered that matters had improved and then speaks of a triumphal entry—where Christ is the general leading the procession and he and is coworkers following as his adoring and loyal army. 

Paul then uses another metaphor of the followers in this grand procession as the “aroma of Christ” spreading “the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”  The fragrance may be considered the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the essence of the aroma that he shares with us.  But the fragrance smells differently to different people.  To those who are perishing, it is the fragrance of death.  The gospel stinks to these, their hardened and impenitent hearts having corrupted their olfactory organ.  But to those who are being saved, there is nothing that smells better than the life-changing gospel.  And who is sufficient for this?  Who brings this to pass?  Who makes us to reek of the gospel?  Not us!  It is his work in us, the presence of the Holy Spirit sanctifying our lives.

The Triumphal Procession marches on, our Lord in the lead.  I, for one, am glad to pass under his yoke, for his yoke is easy and his burden light (Matthew 11:30).  May we share his aroma and spread his fragrance.  To do so, we must draw ever closer to him.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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