Myrrh of Joy

by bzephyr

Last Sunday, I had the privilege to preach on the first Sunday of Advent to my co-workers at our national training center in Ukarumpa. We are doing a series on the gifts given to Jesus by the magi from Matthew 2:9b-11…

And the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell to the ground and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This first message introduced the magi and the star of Bethlehem, and focused on how their gift of myrrh appears again in the Gospels and Revelation to represent suffering. But myrrh also represents a joyful message for us.

Jesus offers the myrrh of JOY,
experienced through God’s PRESENCE,
in his GRACE and MERCY for SIN,
true LIFE,
that OVERCOMES suffering and death.

The audio file can be heard by clicking the sermon title here: Myrrh of Joy. Or right click to download and save the link to your computer.

The powerpoint presentation is also available here: Myrrh of Joy (powerpoint)

In the sermon, I refer to a recent explanation of the star of Bethlehem (by Rick Larson) that uses the math of planetary motion in computer software (Starry Night) to plot the view of the night sky at any time in history from any place on earth. Above is the view from Jerusalem looking south to Bethlehem on a December evening in 2 BC when Jupiter stopped moving throughout the field of fixed stars directly over Bethlehem. Rick Larson’s explanation can be seen on his website here or on his DVD “The Star of Bethlehem,” and the picture above as well as those in the powerpoint are taken from this website.

This is not sensationalism or unbelieving historicism, yet it is both sensational and historical. This represents the best in both exegetical and scientific research that takes the Biblical evidence seriously and uses the latest astronomical tools to find a demonstrable explanation for what the Bible describes. Far from being only a natural explanation for a Biblical miracle, the natural and predictable movement of stars that God put into place since the creation of all things tells a story of the birth of a new Jewish king at the precise time that Jesus was born and the magi traveled from the east.

Thus, the myrrh of Jesus’ suffering is also the myrrh of joy, a plan and a message that God wrote in the stars “in the beginning.”

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (1 Peter 1:20)

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