Slave march…

About a year ago, I wrote the following post. I thought it was time to re-submit it.
A word from the Word: Read 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him” (2 Cor. 2:14).
 I want to share something with you. In Second Corinthians 2:14, Paul uses a word that has caused a lot of scholars of the Bible to wreslte with the imagery being presented. The word is the word for Roman Triumph. A Roman Triumph would have been an image that the Corinthians would have been familiar with living in the Roman Empire. A Roman triumph was a celebratory march of a victorious general leading the captured slaves in a procession. This processional march was a victory party for the general, but a death march for the conquered captured slaves.
What is Paul saying by his using this term. Being well versed in the culture he himself was a citizen of Rome, it is not unlikely that Paul would have drawn on ideas, words and imagery that his hearers would have understood. Was Paul the conquering general in this image, absoultely not. I think his usage of triumphal procession is more appropriately seen in the light of Paul being himself a captured conquered slave.
After all, at one time in his life, he was an enemy of Christ, having persecuted the church and oversaw the death of Stephen (Acts 7). On the Damascus Road, Paul encounters the Rising Living Lord and is forever changed. Throughout Paul’s letters he calls himself a slave of Christ. Knowing what we do about Paul’s ministry not only in Corinth but through out the rest of the Roman Empire, his ministry was one of suffering and difficulty. I think Paul’s use of the imagery of a captured slave being lead by the victorious general, Christ, speaks to the ministry of Paul and his emphasis throughout 2 Corinthians,his theme of power in weakeness. It was this sort of contradictory imagery that Paul incorporates into his ministry, especially in Corinth that made some doubt his apostleship (2 Cor. 3:1, and chapters 10-13) and sanity (2 Cor. 5:13).

Have you allowed yourself to become Christ’s slave. We need to surrender to Christ’s Lordship and allow Him to re-create us in His image so that we can take this story of the Gospel to the lost and hurting in our world. Are you willing to be conquered by Jesus?


About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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1 Response to Slave march…

  1. thedougout says:

    I love that thought from 2 Corinthians. It adds so much value to the text to know the imagery that is being used in this case.

    Just to fuel your pursuit of this imagery…think about Mark 11:1-11 with a similar background regarding Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At the end of the triumphal entry, the Roman general was supposed to “pay homage” to the local religion by offering a sacrifice at the Temple. Jesus appears to be doing the same thing in Mark 11, but when he gets to the Temple he does something surprising…I’ll let you read it so I don’t ruin the suspense.

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