What is Myrrh?

In a couple of days time, it’s Christmas Day and we’re sending you a link to a fantastic song by a band called ‘Downhere’ called ‘How Many Kings.’

One of my favourite questions posed in this song is this: “How many fathers gave up their sons for you?”

What a stunning question, it really reveals the depth of love God has for you, me and the world around us - that He would send His Son to die for all of us.

The depth of such a sacrifice is further understood if you have children yourself, particularly a son. I do. He’s eleven. He’s got three sisters. He and I are the only males in our home - obviously we’re close! And I have to be honest, I wouldn’t sacrifice him for you or anyone else. There’s a limit to my love!! I’d sooner sacrifice myself for him, than sacrifice him for me.

When the Magi gently opened a box of myrrh and laid it at the feet of the infant, I think of the three gifts this one would trouble Mary and Joseph the most. The wonder of His royalty blended with the excitement of His priestly purpose would quickly give way to a deep, foreboding dread within them.

At the time myrrh was used to embalm the dead and the sight of it before their baby son would surely raise thoughts they’d try to shove to the back of their minds. But it’s important for us today we don’t shove it so far back.

Michael Green is a theology lecturer and has written a commentary on Matthew from the ‘The Bible Speaks Today’ series. On this passage he writes this:

‘The man born to be king, was man born to die. In those three gifts we see who He is, what He came to do and what it cost Him.’

Jesus came to die. To die for our sins. To take the punishment we deserve for all the stuff we’ve done wrong. He willingly went to the cross to die so we could live.

The apostle Paul writing his second letter to the church in Corinth (modern Greece) pens these words: ‘God made Him who had no sin to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 5 v 21)

Today let’s focus on the gift we’ve been given and what it cost heaven for us to receive it. Let’s be grateful and yet understand just how much we’re loved and valued by God.


‘Dear God, today I’m so grateful for Jesus dying in my place on the cross. Even though I’m far from perfect you still went to the cross for me and for that I’m without words. Holy Spirit, help me to live in the light of everything Jesus has done for me and help me to share the good news with those special to me in my world, Amen.’