Pine aroma can be a powerful memory trigger.
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Pines of Rome
They came for him early, just after dawn. He was shackled hands and feet.
He was surrounded by soldiers and the party left Mamertine and headed west. Crossing the Tiber River, they climbed the pine-strewn Janiculum Hill.
They paused for a brief rest and Peter looked out over the city of Rome for the last time. There was the Colosseum and over there was the Pantheon.
He had been in Rome for some time, sharing his story with many groups of Christians. Peter also proclaimed the Gospel to countless numbers of citizens from around the world that have come to the center of the world – Rome!
As his gaze drifted over the city, the scent of pine filled his nostrils. This reminded him of that day so long ago when Jesus rode into Jerusalem to shouts of hosanna.
They were waving palm branches, pine branches, and even their cloaks. Peter had thought that this was the day Jesus would take the throne as king of Israel.
Palms of Jerusalem
This was the day they had been waiting for the last three years. Jesus finally taking his rightful place.
But just a short five days later, the shouts of “Crucify” fill the air. The scent of pine branches had shifted to the pungent smell of fresh blood.
Jesus would be nailed to the wood of a Roman cross. He would bleed and die to forgive all the sins of all people of all time.
Three days later, he would rise victoriously from the dead. Forty days after that he would ascend into heaven. And ten days after that, Peter’s life would change.
The Holy Spirit gave him the power to proclaim the Gospel. First, he powerfully preached to the cosmopolitan crowd in Jerusalem.
Years later, he was in Rome itself.
The End of Peter’s Road
Now it was time for Jesus’ other words to be fulfilled.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18).
His period of rest among the pines of Janiculum hill was over. They walked down, through the outskirts of Rome and up Vatican Hill. They passed Nero’s Circus to a small area that was little more than a cemetery.
There they nailed Peter to a cross and soon after he saw his old friend – and Savior – face to face.
The scent of pine was the last thing he smelled on this earth. The gleam of gold streets and pearl gates was the first thing he saw in heaven.
Heavenly father, as the smell of pine fills many homes this Advent and Christmas season, I pray that you will fill our hearts with the love of Jesus. And that you will fill our voices with the Goods News of Jesus. And that you will fill the ears of many with the Gospel we share. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2018 True Men Ministries