"Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11).
Christmas child, Son of man, Son of God! Today, an innocent baby born to poor parents in a humble stable, laid in a manger. One day, the innocent baby will be an innocent man – tempted in every way as we are, but without sin.
God of Heaven wanting relationship with humankind that is at enmity with Him; humankind that can never reach His standards of holiness, or ever be ‘good enough’. So, in His grace and mercy, refusing to leave us wallowing about in the muck and mire of our sin, comes to us – stoops down in kindness to meet us were we are at. He takes on flesh and becomes one of us, He has one mission and one mission only to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
However, this salvation was not going to be accomplished by a Babe in a manger. It was not going to be achieved by being viewed with admiration, adoration and praise as was done by the shepherds, wise men and others. Instead, it was going to be accomplished from a perspective of scorn, hatred and murderous mobs crying for His blood! A wooden manger would be exchanged some day for a wooden cross. The protection of swaddling cloths today would long have been forgotten when then his naked, battered body is exposed to the elements. It’s of that day that this day’s gift of myrrh testified. It’s of that bitterness that this bitterness of herbs prophesied. The myrrh being offered today, at the ‘start’ of his life, would be of the kind used someday at the ‘end’ of his life to embalm his corpse.
How grim! How morbid! It’s Christmas, after all. Why talk of death, bloodshed, bitterness –
leave those for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Let’s rather focus on praising Him, adoring Him! But Friend, hold up! You see, the Saviour’s focus was not on the earthly adulation and adoration of man! He was not after the proverbial pat on the back. His focus was that which it had always been throughout His earthly ministry: His Father’s Glory!
His mission and purpose in life had always been to do the will of His Father!
He lived under the shadow of the cross! He lived to die! His dying on the cross, by living out His God-given “reason for living” would bring ultimate glory to the Father, Who sent Him!
He healed the sick, but this was not His primary mission.
He did all manner of good but that’s not ultimately why He came.
He raised the dead, but this was not the reason His Father sent Him.
He came to go.
He lived to die.
He died so we could live.
He lives forever so that we can live forever.
This road to victory and Glory, was NOT the route often thought of in the secular world – the route of self-seeking ambition; of making others look bad, so that one can look good!
The Saviour’s journey to the cross; His road to Glory, was the road of servanthood! It was a road of pouring His life into and for the lives of others.
That’s the witness of the myrrh. It reminds us of what’s to come. Bitter times for the Saviour, so that ours can be sweet.
Thanks, wise man number three for your gift of myrrh, an unusual gift for a baby, but a most appropriate one for this One.
Your death one day would be bitter with pain,
Broken, bruised, battered, bleeding for me;
Thank you that the bitterness you’d endure,
So that I could know sweet eternity.