The Aroma of Christ
2 Cor 2:14-17
Aesop's Fable of The Rich Man and the Tanner:
A rich man lived near a Tanner, and not being able to bear the unpleasant smell of the tan-yard, he pressed his neighbor to go away. The Tanner put off his departure from time to time, saying that he would leave soon. But as he still continued to stay, as time went on, the rich man became accustomed to the smell, and feeling no manner of inconvenience, made no further complaints.
Second Corinthians an important letter to us because:
It is highly emotional and gives us insight into Paul's personal investment into the establishment of healthy churches particularly in the Corinthian church.
Because much of it is a response to the words and feelings of others, it is difficult to follow Paul's arguments. It is therefor a very worthy personal study since it requires attentiveness and scholastic effort that enriches all subsequent biblical studies.
Second Corinthians is at least the fourth letter Paul wrote to Corinth.
First Corinthians was written, in part, to clarify some question the church had about an earlier letter Paul had written.
Paul later visited the church. It was a painful, probably involving a number of severe rebukes.
It seems this painful visit aggravated doubts about Paul's Apostolic authority and emboldened Paul's critics (2:5-8; 11:1f), who also attacked his authority.
Rather than risk another painful visit, Paul wrote a severe letter (2:4; 7:8), possibly defending his motives and actions during the earlier visit.
After receiving report of a favorable response to his letter (7:7, 13-16) yet clearly concerned about ongoing bitterness, Paul wrote the emotional letter before us.
The people of Corinth reacted to Paul's ministry in various ways some favorably and some bitterly.
In 2:14-17, Paul speaks of his ministry in terms of fragrance in a victory parade. (Read and comment).
I. Any fragrance will elicit different reactions from different people.
e.g., fresh-baked bread, mountain pines, dirt, roasted meat, fish, etc
We are constantly presented with messages. We choose our responses.
A. What is our response to the preaching of the gospel.
B. What is our response to the worldly fragrances that come to us from television, entertainment, the media, literature....?
II. Many beautiful things are repugnant. Plain-looking things are often delightfully fragrant.e.g.,
What is our fragrance? What kind of Christians are we?