Mark 16 & The Aroma of Hope

 Since I love to cook with a lot of spices, while reading through Mark 16 I found myself wondering what aroma the anointing oil in Mark 16 was like.  For that reason, I looked more deeply into the components of the anointing oil recipe which can be found in Exodus 30.  Here is what those verse say:

“Also take for yourself quality spices—five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane,  five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil."  Exodus 30: 23 - 24

In looking over the ingredients I would surmise that the aroma of such a mixture would be hard to contain within a vessel.  Thus, the two women carrying this oil would have been surrounded by the permeating smell of it as they made their way to Jesus' tomb.  The tomb which at that point for them marked the end of their hope and and end to all of the dreams of experiencing the salvation their souls yearned for.

Now, fast forward in this story.  The two women who are walking, talking, grieving, and carrying this fragrant oil come upon a scene that incredibly impacts their composure - actually we are told by Mark that these women were affected so profoundly by what they had seen that they "...fled...trembled...[and were described as]..afraid..."

Now I want to ask you to consider for a momentHave you ever had an impactful experience in your past that was associated with a scent?  I know I have many such experiences.  And, thinking about many of them I have to confess that none of them come anywhere close to what these two women experienced that morning.  

Personally, I find it amazing how just encountering the smells I associate with such experiences tend to draw me right back to those memories.  It is those types of associations then which got me to thinking about these women and the scent of the oil they were carrying.  Here we see the smell of an oil used to consecrate the things and the priests in the Jewish temple, which God used to etch a memory of hope in these two women.  

You have to wonder what feelings and memories rushed through these women, both named Mary, whenever they came near the temple and experienced that smell all over again as the years passed.  I would have to think that the smell would have brought them great joy.  The assurance of the resurrection was really what I am sure they eventually came to associated that smell with - a smell of hope for victory over the grave and everlasting life in the kingdom of God.

We are told in the bible that the aroma of hope is one that every Christian should carry around with them.  Not in the perfume or cologne they wear, but rather in the character they live and thus the way their lives impact those around them.  People all around us every day are walking a path that is leading them closer and closer to the grave.  These people are without hope, but they tread onwards not knowing where else to go, searching desperately with every step, trying to find that life changing experience that will change their destiny toward death and darkness.   

I challenge you, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, to live today giving off the aroma of hope that Jesus has given you.  Today you may have the chance to share "the hope that is within you" and thus change the eternal resting place of someone who needs to hear there is a resurrection and victory over the grave through Jesus the Christ.


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