2 Corinthians 2 v 12 - 17

Paul begins by telling how his anxiety to know what was happening in Corinth had made him so restless that he could wait no longer in Troas, but moved him to visit Titus before his expected arrival in Troas. The results of Titus visiting Corinth were good and Paul shouts in triumph and praise to God over what He has done there. The passage from verses 14 to 17 inevitably brings to mind an experience I had at Bible College. Every half term, the three Bible Colleges in Bristol-Anglican, Methodist and Baptist-would meet for a church service and to share communion. A guest preacher was normally invited and this one time, I happened to be sat next to the man who was to preach. He didn't appear to have any notes with him, but he stood up to preach and he had been asked to speak on this passage. He proceeded to walk up and down the main aisle, dropping things as he went. We were all intrigued until those at the back began to cough and splutter. It turned out that he was dropping stink bombs to illustrate the words here! However, he had reckoned without their potency and within minutes the church had been emptied and apparently the place had to be cleaned before their next Sunday service! However, I could see what he was driving at, because Paul uses some powerful words to describe how some people reacted to the message of Good News! The picture Paul has in his mind here is that of the victory parade of the Roman General who has conquered another city, the shouts of triumph, the swinging of censers with sweet smelling incense filling the air, the General and his family riding on horseback and his army following him. To them, the air would have been sweet and memorable. However, to those they had captured-the Princes and high-born folk of that city-their fate was to be in the parade in chains, to be jeered at and soon to be executed. For them, the perfume filling the air was the aroma of death. To Paul, those who accepted Christ into their hearts, walked that path with a triumphant Jesus at the helm. Some might be saying that he was not fit to preach, others that he was using it to line his own pockets: Paul knew that he was following God, because his conscience told him that he had His approval and the 'Well done' of Christ!

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