The Scent of Easter
Updated: May 28
Last year, my daughter got perfume for Christmas, which included a "room spray". It's a nice light scent, which I was grateful for because every night she sprayed it all over her bedroom. Like 20 times. Many of you know exactly what I experienced. The scent hung around and lingered through the entire second floor of our house. Everything in her room smelled like it.
I'm not a big fan of artificial fragrance, so during the day I'd open the windows to air the place out. The scent still clung to her clothes, bedding, and area rug, but didn't choke me out that way. I eventually asked her to limit herself to one spray a day. (I'm so mean.)
Someday, I’m going to run across that scent again and I’ll instantly be taken back to my nine-year-old daughter. It’ll be like I’m right back there again, and as annoyed as I was at the time, it’ll surely make me smile. Scents make memories like that.
The first Easter had a memorable scent too.
Mark 14 tells the story of the woman who poured an entire bottle of "pure nard" (an extremely expensive and aromatic essential oil that was used for perfume and medicine) over Jesus' head. Although she may not have known why she did it, Jesus tells her it was to prepare His body for burial. It happened three days before he died. As strong as my daughter's light and inexpensive perfume was, it's likely nowhere close to as potent as what was used on Jesus.
As Jesus was going throughout the last few days of His life, He must have smelled almost obnoxiously good. It's not like he could throw his clothes in a wash machine, and unless he shaved his head and beard, the scent would’ve clung to him even after bathing. So, while they ate Passover supper together, the scent of nard filled the room. At Gethsemane, the man whose ear Jesus healed must have smelled nard. That kiss Judas gave Him probably made Judas smell a little like nard too. During His trial, everyone in the room could probably smell it. Even on the cross, in the midst of all the other scents that must have mingled there, it's highly likely that he and those around him could smell nard.
For the rest of the disciples’ lives (and probably the guards and Pilate), the smell of nard would take them back to those last few days of Jesus' life. Jesus received this extravagant gift graciously. He allowed the fragrance to permeate the last few days of His life because He understood how special they were.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 says, “But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
As we head into Easter weekend, let's allow the fragrance of Christ to go before us and permeate everything we do. Jesus is coming back soon, and we've been given the extravagant gift of complete forgiveness of our sins. Others need to know about it! We have the ability to have a relationship with God through Jesus. What a tremendous treasure. Don’t keep it to yourself! Those around us who don’t know the Lord need to hear the wonderful news of the gospel. Be the bold and life-giving perfume of Christ to everyone you meet.
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