Dec 23rd, 2018
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 5 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we are going to continue our holiday trilogy by taking a look at the Maji’s gift of Myrrh.
Remember it was prophesied in Micah 5:2 that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and the verse ends with a note of secrecy or mystery to it as to why He exists and is being born. Also, Isaiah 60:6 prophesied that the Maji would cover the land with caravans of camels looking for Jesus and would bring gifts of gold and frankincense. In the last episode, we talked about what significance we can, in hindsight, apply to the gift of frankincense. That Jesus is our High Priest, a good high priest who has faced what we’ve faced and is therefore sympathetic to what we face in life. Paul goes as far as to say just this thing in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.” Next week we’ll talk about gold, but this week we get to dig into the mystery of Micah 5 and the seemingly corresponding gift of myrrh.
Myrrh itself is attained similar to how frankincense is and had two basic uses. It was mixed with other liquids to give the dying to drink in order to lessen their pain, and it was used in embalming the dead. This is certainly not a gift you would normally give a baby and is the gift left out of the prophecy in Isaiah about what gifts the Maji would bring the Messiah. So, why the gift of something so closely entangled with death to the baby that most people were expecting to rule the world?
Micah 5:2 reads,
you are small among the clans of Judah;
one will come from you
to be ruler over Israel for Me.
His origin is from antiquity,
from ancient times.”
We’re interested in that last phrase, “His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times.” In the KJV it says, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” That word the CSB translated as “ancient times,” and the KJV translated as “everlasting,” is the word, or rather words:
H5769 עֹלָם עוֹלָם ‛ôlâm ‛ôlâm o-lawm', o-lawm' From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always: - always (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). Compare H5331, H5703.
His origin is concealed. Where He comes from, why He’s here, it’s a secret. It’s really interesting that it was a secret not just from man, but from the Devil and his forces as well.
1 Corinthians 2:6-8 says, “We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We know from Ephesians 6:12 that the “rulers of this age,” are not flesh and blood beings, but dark cosmic powers of spiritual forces in the heavens.
Satan didn’t know that Jesus was God incarnate, and by the time he figured it out he didn’t understand why Jesus was here. It was a mystery to him, a secret from him. If you’re still not convinced, or you think I’m stretching then let’s look at the narrative and Satan’s part in it all.
Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel with the good news of her upcoming pregnancy, Satan does nothing. The Holy Spirit moves upon Mary and she indeed becomes pregnant with Jesus, Satan does nothing. Mary visits her cousin Martha and John the Baptist leaps in his mother’s womb at the presence of his unborn savior, Satan does nothing. Jesus is born and hosts of angels sing throughout the night sky proclaiming the birth of the foretold anointed one, Satan does nothing. Approximately two years later caravans of camels cover Bethlehem with the arrival of the Maji who find Jesus, give Him gifts, worship Him, then peace out secretly so as not to give away Jesus’ location. Here we have Satan’s first response, Herod orders all the male children of the land two years old and under be killed. That doesn’t sound like the response of a being who knows that Jesus is the prophesied, anointed, Messiah who will crush that beings head underfoot to me. That sounds like the response of a being who has no idea who Jesus is, but that the Messiah is out there somewhere, so he’s casting a wide net.
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt avoiding the killing of the male children under two and raise Jesus, Satan does nothing. Years later they return and a twelve-year-old Jesus is found in the temple astonishing the Rabbis with His insightful-ness, Satan does nothing. Years pass again and Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit after being baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist, Satan puts in his day planner to look into it. Forty days later, Satan tempts Jesus in the desert. Tempts? It’s really more like trying to pump Jesus for information while offering Him an easy way to fulfill the prophecies about the Messiah, but with Satan in charge. Jesus resists Satan’s thinly veiled attempts so Satan leaves Him in the desert where angels then minister to Jesus. Word apparently filters through Satan’s forces that Jesus is the prophesied Messiah and they tremble at His presence.
They know who He is, they finally figured it out. But, they don’t know the secret why, they didn’t know why He was here. Remember we read that in 1 Corinthians 2:8, “if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Seriously though, think that through. There was only One way to defeat Satan, One way to loose his grip on the world and set mankind free. Satan’s response? To do that One thing. The willing sacrifice of the Lamb of God was the One thing that would redeem mankind and defeat Satan, and he does everything in his power to facilitate that sacrifice. One of three things must be true then.
Satan is low-key actually one of the good guys.
Satan is the stupidest villain of all time.
Satan simply didn’t know, he wasn’t in on the secret.
We see from scripture, and it’s supported by the narrative, that Satan didn’t know who Jesus was, and by the time he figured it out, he still didn’t understand why Jesus was here.
This time of year when you see nativities, hear the story and are reminded of the gift of myrrh, let it bring to mind the ultimate purpose that Jesus was born for. The secret that was hidden from the foundations of the world. The mystery that only the Holy Spirit could reveal. He was born to be your redeemer, to be the willing Lamb of God, to be the Savior of the world. He came to prove God’s love for you.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”