In the Old Covenant God ordained that Israel would offer sacrifices to Him. These sacrifices would cover trespasses and atone for sins. God would receive the offerings as payment for sins committed and would be kind and gracious to forgive Israel. A phrase that is repeated over and over again in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers (when God is giving instructions for these sacrifices) is “a sweet aroma to the Lord.” The smoke of the burned-up sacrifices was a sweet aroma in the nostrils of the Lord because His children, who trusted Him to forgive their sins, were offering sacrifices to Him as He ordained, which brought about continued fellowship with His treasured, covenant people.
When we come to the New Testament we find that the Old Covenant animal sacrifices are no more. But God is still seeking a sweet aroma that will secure unhindered fellowship with His beloved people. So we read in Ephesians 5:2, “Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” When Christ died on the cross, He was giving His life as a one-time, final, ultimately significant offering for sin, and His death was a sweet-smelling aroma to His Father.
This bread and this wine is a remembrance of Christ’s cross. In the breaking of this bread and the drinking of this wine, there is a showing forth of the body and blood of Christ which were burned up and offered to God on the cross. And so this remembrance is a sweet-smelling aroma to God – not because Christ is sacrificed all over again by a miracle of transformation. But because this bread and wine are a remembrance before the Father of what Christ did when He gave His life as a payment for sin and secured us for Him.
The New Testament also speaks of our lives as a fragrant aroma to God and our lives as living sacrifices acceptable to God (Romans 12:1-2). When we take up this remembrance as the body of Christ, God is pleased with us. God is delighted to behold His children feeding on Christ and drinking Christ. This remembrance is a sweet-smelling aroma to Him.
So feel the smile of your Father, you who believe and who are casting yourself on Christ as you take up the bread and cup. Know that your Father is delighting in the sweet aroma of Christ as we enact this remembrance of the cross of the Son of His love.
Come, let us taste and see that the Lord is good.