Frankinscense and Myrrh?
Why Frankinscense and Myrrh?
In the story of the wise men, we often struggle to understand why they brought the gifts they did of gold, frankinscence and myrrh. It is very much related to the overall point of the story and what it says about the significance of Jesus.
The word "Messiah," or "anointed," alludes to the ceremony used to set apart one who is chosen by God, as a king or priest would be. Instead of being crowned during a coronation, kings were anointed with sacred oil that was perfumed with extremely expensive spices, making it like diamonds in terms of its preciousness. It would have been like putting on an invisible crown that conferred an aura of holiness. Everything that had that unique smell would be known to all as God's special possession. After this initial anointing, kings would anoint themselves with other precious scented oils for special occasions. We read that both king David and Solomon did this:
So, in ancient times, the majesty of a king would be obvious to those around him, not only because of the jewels and robes that he wore, but by the scent of extremely expensive oils that were poured on him. These royal figures would process through the streets with the fragrance of the oils telling all of the bystanders that a king was passing by.
So, perhaps the wise men had brought these precious spices to anoint the king, the prophesied son of David. The wise men were proclaiming Jesus as the "anointed on," the Messiah, the Christ, the King of Kings!
©2005 Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D., OurRabbiJesus.com. All rights
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