Summary: We carry the aroma of Jesus among a lost and dying world as Jesus leads us triumphantly.
I. Paradox – Zechariah 9:12 - prisoners of hope – slaves yet free at the same time – continue this today as well as some others
II. Triumphal procession – Roman procession after victory
A. Generally, to be led in a triumphant procession means to be a prisoner of war – Spartacus – Kirk Douglas – crucify prisoners of war on the road to Rome
B. Although Paul would later become a prisoner, he already sees himself as a slave to Christ – We “have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God.” Romans 6:22
C. Soldier returning from battle rejoicing with his general over their hard-earned victory – Quo Vadis
D. Col 2:15 – Jesus, having disarmed the powers and authorities made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross – battle won, final victory assured, war goes on
E. Funeral what? – procession – in a sense, for Christians, this is a triumphant procession as well – as we wait for the final procession when Jesus returns for us.
F. We triumph no matter what happens to us – Phil 1:20-21 – “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
G. As we read already from Romans 8, Paul says that “we are more than conquerors through Christ”
A. Fragrance also comes from Roman triumphal processions – incense and flowers – Quo Vadis
B. Leviticus/Numbers – God says no less than 35 times that different burnt offerings produce an aroma pleasing to Him
C. Does God have a weird sense of smell? No – illustrative of God being pleased with His people
D. This is a metaphor used throughout the bible by its many writers – 1 Samuel 13:4 – Israel heard the news: ‘Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost and now Israel has become a stench to the Philistines.’”
E. Note in Concordia Self-study Bible says that this, a stench, is a metaphor depicting an object of strong hostility
F. Opposite – an aroma – would mean? – strong metaphor of love and acceptance – we are God’s cologne
IV. Paradoxically, the same aroma has a dual effect, both helps to save but also helps to condemn those who smell it
A. How can that be?
B. Word return void – Isaiah 55:10-11 – “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty (void) but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
C. Does it mean that if we share the gospel with someone that one day they will become a Christian?
D. Law always condemns, Gospel always saves (when you believe) – some it saves, some it condemns
V. Jump for a second to verses 14-15 – what is the purpose of our smell?
A. So that others get a whiff – so that others may be able to join the procession
B. We are not competent in and of ourselves for the task of spreading the Gospel – 2 Cor 3:5-6 – “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – don’t worry about results