Imagine a hero entering a bright city. His armor shines as he sits tall in his horse, hands extended, waving at the crowd. Children run alongside his steed, tossing flowers in his path and calling out his name, hoping to catch even a glimpse of him. For his faithful service and loyalty to the king, a reward awaits him inside the city. This triumphal procession pulses with life and anticipation and joy.
Now imagine our same hero, only this time he has been captured by his enemy, fallen prey to his foe's deception which lead to a trap. Rather than riding in atop his horse, he is bound and dragged behind the beast of his nemesis. He stumbles and falls, trying in vain to keep his bloody feet under him. The jeering crowd jockeys for position alongside the road so they can kick dust at him, spit on him, hurl insults. Children run near and throw rotting fruit and stones which hit him on his already beaten body. Following this display, only death awaits him beyond the city gate. This funeral procession pulses with bitterness and hatred and fear.
The gospel is said to be either the fragrance of life or the smell of death to those who hear it. For those who listen and believe, what awaits them is this triumphal procession of life, beginning now, but carrying into eternity where the King of Kings will welcome him into His glorious city, as a son finally come home. But for those who reject the mercy and grace God offers, their road leads only to destruction. We all begin with this terrible separation from God, a chasm forged by sin itself, but to those who refuse to believe the gospel, that chasm remains and the prince of this world shares his doom, bitterly victorious in his successful deception.
Have you shared the good news of the gospel with someone recently. Will you be there, as if with fresh flowers in hand, the sweet fragrance of life to offer? When we fail to do so, we might as well be standing idly by, rotting fruit in our hands, the stench of death in the air, indifferent to the horror that awaits them.
I am personally challenged this week by the Spirit in me that reminds me that I have an urgent responsibility to share Christ with others. In John 6, Jesus asked his disciples if they, too, would leave Him after He shared some hard teaching with them. Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
I am praying that God will give me many opportunities to share those words of life.