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The Coffee-Bean Bowl

Today's Devotional

Read: John 12:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 7–8; Ephesians 2

We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:15

I’m not a coffee drinker, but one sniff of coffee beans brings me a moment of both solace and wistfulness. When our teenage daughter Melissa was making her bedroom uniquely hers, she filled a bowl with coffee beans to permeate her room with a warm, pleasant scent.

It’s been nearly two decades since Melissa’s earthly life ended in a car accident at age seventeen, but we still have that coffee-bean bowl. It gives us a continual, aromatic remembrance of Mell’s life with us.

Scripture also uses fragrances as a reminder. Song of Songs refers to fragrances as a symbol of love between a man and a woman (see 1:3; 4:11, 16). In Hosea, God’s forgiveness of Israel is said to be “fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon” (Hosea 14:6). And Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet, which caused the house of Mary and her siblings to be “filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3), pointed ahead to Jesus’ death (see v. 7).

The idea of fragrance can also help us be mindful of our testimony of faith to those around us. Paul explained it this way: “We are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

Just as the scent of coffee beans reminds me of Melissa, may our lives produce a scent of Jesus and His love that reminds others of their need of Him.

How can you be “the fragrance of Christ” to someone today? How has your life caused others to sense the presence of the Savior?

Dear heavenly Father, help me to pass along an aroma of life that makes others know I represent You.


Jesus talked openly about His death, yet His disciples kept missing it. Mary, however, seemed to understand—perhaps from her history of careful listening to the Master (see Luke 10:38–42). After Christ resurrected Mary’s brother Lazarus (John 11:38–44), the chief priests and Pharisees “plotted to take his life” (v. 53). At that point, Jesus “withdrew to a region near the wilderness” (v. 54). Now, however, He returned to where Mary and Martha were in Bethany, a town literally “over the hill” (the Mount of Olives) from Jerusalem. Here in Bethany, the One who raised the dead prepared for His own death. Mary’s lavish gesture was an important part of that preparation. Judas scoffed at Mary’s beautiful act, but Jesus would have none of it. “Leave her alone,” He said. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial” (12:7).

By |2022-09-29T02:35:03-04:00September 29th, 2022|
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