Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been considering the three gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. Matthew calls them treasures which implies the value of the gifts.
The third treasure was myrrh.
Like frankincense, myrrh was well-known and highly sought after in the ancient world. It was also a resin made from the sap of a particular type of tree, Commifora myrrha. This tree was found in the same areas that the Boswellia trees are found. And like frankincense, the myrrh was probably worth more, pound for pound, than the gold.
Myrrh was used as a medicine. It had germ-killing properties as well as being a painkiller. Jesus was offered a mixture of myrrh and sour wine (vinegar and gall in some translations), which He refused. (Mark 15:39).
The recipe for the sacred incense in Exodus list myrrh as an ingredient. But since the Ancient Egyptians began embalming bodies, myrrh was used in the process. When Joseph of Arimathea was given the body of Jesus, Nicodemus brought seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint the body. No matter what percentage of that seventy-five pounds was myrrh, it was an extravagant gesture born of love and devotion to Christ. It is speculation but it is possible that the myrrh and frankincense were included in the spices Mary and the other women brought to the tomb on Resurrection morning.
Each week, we have mentioned that if we wanted to be wise, we would follow the wise men’s example. First, we should do everything we can to get ourselves into the presence of Jesus. The next step is to recognize that He is king. The third step is to fall down and worship Him. Last, open our treasures.
What if we haven’t been to Africa lately for a fresh supply of myrrh?
We can make this season a time of healing. Relationships, past hurts, losses. We can take the first steps to reach out. If that seems too risky, let this be a time to give the wounds to the One who was wounded for our transgressions. Even if we don’t receive full restoration or reconciliation, we can leave our burdens at the foot of the cross.
Introduce the Great Physician to those who have never experienced the ultimate healing from the damage done by the Fall. Recall the words of Isaiah, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9:2) We encounter people walking in darkness every day.
Experience the peace and stillness that comes from knowing He is God and beside Him, there is no other. (Isaiah 45:6). He has called you by name. You belong to Him. (Isaiah 43:1)
So in this final week before Christmas, what healing will you offer to those around you? What healing do you need to seek for yourself?
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
The healing began at Christmas.
This is my last post until after the first of the year. May you and yours know
the joy of the shepherds,
the worship of the wise men and
the wonder of Immanuel this Christmas.