UPWARD GLANCE: The Gifts of the Magi: Myrrh

by Kyle
published December 21, 2012


Read More Looking Up

Read More Upward Glances

I thought of doing this series on the gifts of the Magi because I made my youth group mad. I thought I’d play a Christmas trivia game with them last week, and one of the questions involved myrrh.

The youth group got angry with me because I suggested that embalming spices were the perfect gift to bring the baby Jesus.

That’s what myrrh is: an embalming spice. They used myrrh in Jesus’ day to suppress the stench of dead bodies.

Why would “wise men” bring such a seemingly inappropriate gift to a baby? I imagine they wouldn’t bring myrrh to just any baby. This baby, however, they knew was born for the sole purpose of dying for their sins.

We know for sure they at least had the books of Moses since the prophecy about the star is in Numbers 24. I wonder what other books of the Old Testament they had. Even if they only had the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), they had everything they needed to understand this baby’s purpose.

If they had Isaiah, they understood this baby was the one who would be “crushed for our transgressions.”

The magi were looking forward to the cross. Three chapters before the prophecy about the star that brought them to Bethlehem in the first place, in Numbers 21, we find the story about the bronze serpent.

There’s no way the magi didn’t know this story. It’s in the same book just a few paragraphs away. In Numbers 21, Israel was suffering a plague of snakes. Moses made a bronze serpent and placed it on his staff. Anyone who looked at it would be healed from their snakebite.

When he grew up, Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;” The magi were looking up at the cross when the brought the baby Jesus spices for His burial. The magi understood the purpose of the incarnation. They understood the purpose of Christmas. Do you?

Merry Christmas

“And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” - Numbers 21:9

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” - Isaiah 45:22

What do you think?

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