Monday, April 14, 2014

Beaten Like a Criminal - But Smelling Like a King

So - my new favorite story is about "Spikenard."

After you say it a few times and use it totally outta context ("dude - don't be a spikenard!") - go Google it.

In short - it's a flowering plant used in the manufacture of an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil. The oil has, since ancient times, been used as a perfume, as a medicine and in religious contexts, particularly in connection with historical Judaism.

Apparently this stuff is INTENSE - it ain't no watered down Justin Bieber perfume from Target. Nope - this stuff has some staying power.

It also has an anesthetic effect to it as well as being aromatically strong. And it was most often associated with Roman royalty.

Here is where things get really neat and God's eye for detail can be overwhelming. The Gospels tell us that Jesus was anointed with this stuff from the alabaster jar - literally poured over His head and washed over His feet - a few days before being taken captive and beaten by the Roman soldiers.

Imagine that scene - or smell it - if you will. If that spikenard is as strong as research says it is - it is doing two things in that moment. One - its anesthetic properties are relaxing and reducing pain in the skin and muscles of our Savior. Somehow - some way - that provides a fleeting bit of comfort to a mind that cringes when I think of what He endured for me (and you and you and you over there...)

But here - here is the real kicker - and just one of the bazillion reasons I love our God and His insane eye and mind for details. As those soldiers were beating Jesus and treating Him like the criminal He had been charged as - laughing as their spiked whips tore His flesh apart - they smelled something. His skin was giving off an odor.

The smell of ROYALTY.

Beaten like a criminal... but smelling like the KING He is.

Spikenard. I love this word.

And I love our God. A God who knew exactly what He was doing from the get go... and never faltered on His mission.

Happy Holy week people - let's make this weekend all about HIM.

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