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Can you imagine taking…

October 2, 2007

a funeral spray to a baby shower? Not so much. It would probably not bring tears of joy to the mother-to-be, although it would probably bring fewer invitations to baby showers in general.

But when the Magi arrived in Bethlehem to bring gifts for the most special baby of all time, they had myrrh in their trunks. Myrrh was used in embalming, dead bodies. It was not unlike taking a funeral spray to a baby shower.

In studying through Matthew, one of the commentaries I’m using was written by James Montgomery Boice. I’m grateful for his comments on this point of unique baby gifts.

By any human measure it would be odd, if not offensive, to present a spice used for embalming at the birth of a child. But it was not offensive in this case, nor was it odd. It was a gift of faith. Of course, we do not know exactly what the wise men may have surmised about Christ’s future ministry or have intended by this gift, but we know from the Old Testament that Jesus’ ministry was pictured again and again as one involving suffering. Psalm 22 describes Jesus’ death by crucifixion; it was a verse from this psalm that Jesus quoted when he cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Isaiah 53:4-5 says, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him strickent by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Jesus came to suffer for our sin, and his suffering was symbolized by the Magi’s gift of myrrh.

That would all be great application enough to consider how thoroughly Jesus endured suffering for the sins of His people and how complete His atonement.

But Boice writes about another use of myrrh in the ancient world. Apparently it was also used as a crude anesthetic agent to deaden pain. However, Jesus refused this use.

“And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.” Mark 15:23

Jesus wished to endure the full extent of suffering in his death for us. He was willing to bear all that the suffering and death entailed.

This should cause authentic tears of joy for the price He paid. Praise Your Name, Lord Jesus!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2007 2:06 pm

    My eyes are stinging with tears. It is absolutely, overwhelmingly amazing to comprehend that He would do this for a sinner like me. Praise Him, Oh, praise Him!

  2. Fiona permalink
    October 4, 2007 7:19 am

    He truly knew/knows our pain and accepted it willingly. Thank God for the Magi’s gift of myrrh. To God be all glory!

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