Myrrh is one of the gifts, along with gold and frankincense, that the Magi (or the three Wise Men) presented to baby Jesus when he was born (Matthew 2:11). It was an important herb in the Bible for its wide application–including perfumes, incense, and medicine. It was also often used in burial ceremonies in ancient times because of its association with death and mourning.

In this article, let’s dive deep into the significance of myrrh in the Bible, its health benefits, and what we can learn from it as Christians today.

Myrrh in the Old and New Testament

The Health Benefits of Myrrh

With its rich biblical history, scientists continue to probe the medicinal and other potential uses of myrrh oil. Here are some of their findings:

1. Myrrh oil can support oral health.

Myrrh oil has antimicrobial properties that can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay while freshening breath.

2. Myrrh oil can support skin health.

Myrrh oil has antioxidant properties that help keep the skin looking young and healthy. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a natural remedy for skin wounds and injuries.

3. Myrrh can help treat hypothyroidism.

Myrrh oil is used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to cure hypothyroidism, wherein the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. It contains compounds that can stimulate the thyroid and reduce the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

4. Myrrh oil has calming and relaxing properties.

Myrrh oil has expectorant effects that help decrease respiratory discomforts, relieving colds and coughs. It is also used in aromatherapy for its ability to stabilize moods.

These health benefits help us understand why it was such a precious gift bestowed upon baby Jesus. It’s not just the value of the gift but what it represented that made it so significant. Based on its healing and medicinal properties, it’s easy to relate it to the roles that Jesus would later take on as our healer and the ultimate sacrificial lamb.

The Three Wise Men in the Story of Christmas

Since it was the three wise men who brought myrrh to Jesus, the story of Christmas wouldn’t be complete without them. But who were they? What’s their story?

As told in the Bible’s Book of Matthew, the Christmas story of the Nativity begins with an account of magi, or wise men, following a bright star from the east. These magi were seeking the newborn king of the Jews, whom they had been told about by Herod, the king of Judea.

King Herod was a ruler who was notorious for his cruelty. He was paranoid about losing his power, so he often ordered executions of anyone he saw as a threat. So when he heard rumors about the birth of a new “king,” he was immediately alarmed and began to search for the child. This led him to the magi, who had come from a faraway land searching for the new king.

Herod asked them to let him know where the child was so that he could go and worship him. However, a dream warned the magi not to return to Herod, so they left their own country on another road. This reminds us that following one’s conscience is important, even if it means going against powerful people. 

When the magi arrived in Bethlehem, the star stopped “over the place where the child was.” After entering the house and seeing baby Jesus with his mother, Mary, they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

They chose these gifts for their symbolic meaning – gold signified Jesus’ status as “King of the Jews,” frankincense represented his divinity and identity as the Son of God, and myrrh touched upon his mortality. Over time, the magi’s story has become synonymous with giving gifts during Christmas.

Symbolisms in Christ’s Birth

When the child Jesus was born, his mother, Mary, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger (Luke 2:7). This simple act had profound theological significance.

He could have been born anywhere, but he was specifically laid in a manger. A manger is a feeding trough for animals, typically located in a barn. This means that, from the very beginning, Jesus became one with all creation – even the lowliest creatures. He didn’t need a comfortable bed or silk sheets; hay was good enough.  He shared in our suffering and joined us in our struggle for survival. This act of solidarity is at the heart of the Christian message, and it is something we are called to do in our own lives.

By being born in a stable surrounded by animals, Jesus announced that he had come to be the food for all creatures – both bodily and spiritually. Just as the animals go to the manger for physical sustenance, we can go to Jesus for spiritual sustenance. He is the Bread of Life, and whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life (John 6:35).

Whenever we approach Jesus – whether it’s through prayer, attending Mass, reading Scripture, or receiving the Sacraments – we are being nourished by him. We are never hungry when we have Jesus because he is an infinite storehouse of spiritual food. So next time you see a Nativity scene, remember that Jesus wasn’t just laid in a manger by accident; it was part of his plan to show us that he is the food that satisfies our bodies and souls.

Bottom Line

When the wise men brought their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus, they gave him some of their day’s most valuable commodities. Myrrh was used as a perfume, an embalming ointment, and even as a medicine. It is mentioned several times in the Bible, most notably in the story of Jesus’ birth and crucifixion.

While myrrh may not be as valuable today as it was in ancient times, it still has a place in religious ceremonies and is used in some modern-day medicines. Moreover, the plant that produces myrrh has a beautiful fragrance, making it a popular choice for perfumes and incense.

Because of the wise men’s act of bringing gifts to Jesus, the Christmas season is now a time when people give gifts to loved ones. In a way, it symbolizes the giving of self that Jesus gave us. However, we must all remember that the greatest gift we could ever receive is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus Christ, we have the hope of eternal life.


Sarah Goodwin

A passionate Christian and Bible enthusiast, I find joy in delving deep into Scripture and sharing its timeless wisdom with my readers. Through words, I aspire to illuminate the profound lessons the Bible offers, hoping to inspire faith and purpose in every heart. Join me on a journey of biblical exploration and spiritual growth.Enter your text here...

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