Many centuries ago, a story was told of a man who rented an apartment above the only bakery in town. He would rise early from bed, do the things that prepared him for that day and then go to the front window and just sit, enjoying the beauty and fragrance of fresh baking bread.
The owner of the building saw him sitting there one day, smiling and enjoying the added blessing the aroma the fresh bread offered. He felt that this added pleasure and benefit would justify him raising the rent. The renter objected and the whole affair was taken to court.
The Judge, a wise old man, listened and recorded his notes as each man presented his case. He ordered the owner of the apartment to bring 10 golden coins and both were remanded to return the following day. News spread rapidly and the next morning there was a goodly crowd in the gallery.
The Judge appeared in his robes and when seated ask for the golden coins. The defendant produced them and set them before the judge. He took the coins and little by little let them fall from one hand to the other. Then he rendered his judgment. The price should remain the same for the flat.
The owner objected and demanded an explanation. “How could the falling coins pay for him sitting in the window and smelling the sweet smell of baking bread?”
The Judge smiled and said, “The tinkle of falling coins pays for the smell of baking bread!!”
It’s funny how certain ‘smells’ can bring back memories. Maybe it’s the smell of homemade apple pie that reminds you of a time when you and your mother baked a pie together.
Not all smells bring back good memories. Sometimes they bring back bad memories of a time of abuse or pain or depression.
“It was just before the Passover Feast” and Unleavened bread was being sold in the open markets of Jerusalem. Unleavened bread is made of flour (which contains no rising agents),
crushed coriander seeds (also called “cilantro”), salt, fine cooking oil and water. The smell must have been wonderful. Memories must have come to the mind of the Master of times when his mother baked fresh bread. Now as he gathers with his disciples for this supper. The memories and the memorial all mix together. For every Jew, the memories were rich, the memorial Passover was priceless. Reminding them of a time when the God of Heaven and earth delivered their fore-fathers from the slavery of Egypt so many centuries before.
It was this bread that Jesus first blessed, then broke into pieces and handed to his disciples. Yet there was a ‘bitterness’ to this memorial supper, since someone at the table was going to betray Him. “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot…” Satan made his move, entering the heart of Judas, and Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:21-30).
The rest is history. Paul reminds us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US” (Romans 5:8). For Christians, it continues to be a precious reminder of the one who freed us from the slavery of sin.