When they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 KJV

Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 NASB

There were three occasions in the life of the Lord Jesus when myrrh is mentioned. The first is the all familiar incident of the Magi who came to worship Him. We read of the “treasures” they brought. This is a remarkable statement in that this is the only occasion in the New Testament where something material and linked with earth is referred to as a treasure. The other mentions all suggest that our treasure is not linked with earth but with heaven. The thought may be that whatever of my material possessions are yielded for His use take on the character of “treasure.”

But does it not seem strange that the Magi would bring myrrh to an infant’s birth? Would Mary and Joseph have been puzzled by the myrrh at His birth? As will be seen, myrrh is linked with death, not birth. Yet, here it was brought along with the gold and frankincense, to honor the King at His birth. Perhaps there was in the divinely controlled gifs, a suggestion that He Who would one day be king would come to that through suffering and death.

Mark in His Gospel (15:23) tells us that the soldiers offered the Lord Jesus “wine mingled with myrrh” when they were about to crucify Him. Matthew tells us it was vinegar mingled with gall; but Mark tells us that it was myrrh. All this was to alleviate or lessen some of the suffering. Fully aware of its purpose, the Lord Jesus refused the drink, choosing to feel the full intensity of all that Calvary would entail. He chose not to taste the myrrh that He might taste death for us.

The third mention of myrrh is in connection with His burial. John tells us that along with Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, totaling almost 100 pounds in weight. A kingly burial was afforded the Lord Jesus by these two courageous and faithful disciples. In keeping with Jewish burial customs, there was no embalming of the body, so myrrh and spices were used to lessen the odor from the inevitable corruption of the body. But He could not see corruption; the myrrh, while an expression of love and devotion, was not needed.

In the first mention of myrrh we see it was unexpected; in the second mention it was unwanted; and in the final mention, it was unneeded. Yet in each of the instances, we are reminded of His suffering and death.

Consider:

Look at the first mention of myrrh in Genesis 37:25

Look at the mention in Exodus 30:23

Look at the mention of myrrh in Psalm 45:8