The Sweet Fragrance of Christ's Obedience
by Michael Chu
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JESUS came down to earth in obedience to God the Father to atone for our sins and free us from the curse of sin. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and become obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross. Therefore God also have highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 4:8-11 NKJV).
Not only did Jesus knows the talk (His Father’s perfect will), but He also walks the talk (in full obedience). As a result, He has become what A.W. Tozer calls ‘Our Man in Glory’, leaving us a legacy of a life that also talks the talk for all eternity. Indeed, as Paul said is Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV, “Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV). The NIV Study Bible commented that: ‘The imagery is that of a Roman triumph in which the victorious general would lead his soldiers and the captives they had taken in festive procession, while the people watched and applauded and the air was filled with the sweet smell released by the burning of spices in the street.’ It was a sweet victory for Jesus by the power of Holy Spirit, bringing glory to God the Father.
Thanks be to God for Jesus’ obedience and perfect sacrifice which have wrought for us so great a salvation, of which we will be eternally grateful. Jesus is the ‘firstborn among many brethren’ (Romans 8:29 NKJV) and ‘bringing many sons to glory’ (Hebrews 2:10 NKJV). Hallelujah! As it is written, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15 NKJV).
To appreciate further the richness and texture of this aroma of Christ’s giving of Himself, we can catch a another whiff of it through Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV: “But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.”
Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet with a pound of very costly oil of spikenard (John 12:3 NKJV) as well as the woman who poured very costly fragrant oil on Jesus’ head (Matthew 26:7 NKJV) are natural precursors of His death and burial, and beyond. On account of the latter’s anointing oil in Matthew 26:7 NKJV, about two days before Jesus’ instituted the Lord’s Supper, Jesus would have literally smelled good all the way to Calvary (my Tommy Hilfiger polo t-shirt handed down by a relative still carries whiffs of cologne after several washing over the weeks). What a faith and hope extender the fragrant oil could have been to Jesus, reminding Him constantly of the sweet victory that is to come.
As we treasure our relationship with God, our Creator, we can become vessels of honour unto Him in Christ, bearing the fragrance of Christ. If we want to smell good for Jesus we need to know the word of God, trust and obey Him, and do what He tells us to do by His Spirit and the Word as we remain in Christ, having been redeemed by His blood. All glory be to Jesus!
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