2 Corinthians 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 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?
This passage holds new meaning for me as I read it today. A few months ago, I heard a sermon that gave me new insight into what this verse is really talking about, with the back story of what a triumphal procession looked like when these verses were written.
See, every person Paul wrote this letter to would have seen processions by Roman soldiers as they came back from war. These processions were cause for great celebration in the streets, the priests would walk, carrying burning incense that would fill the streets with heavy perfume. There would be flower petals thrown on the triumphant soldiers as they passed displaying the spoils of war. As the chariots and sandaled feet crushed the petals, they would add to the pungent aroma in the air. The smell would overwhelm everyone in the area, it would have been familiar, pleasing and instantly recognizable for the joyous occasion it heralded. Continue reading