And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). These gifts represented our Lords role as King Prophet and Priest. Undeniably Daniel’s promise of the coming King (Daniel 9:24-27), David’s promise of the coming Priest (Psalm 110:4), and Moses’s promise of the coming Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15) was realized.
(1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13; Psalm 89:20) Samuel anoints Saul and later David to be king over Israel. In 1 Kings 19:16 Jehu the son of Nimshi is anointed king over Israel, Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah is anointed as a prophet. This is in congruence with historical accounts of Priest Kings and Prophets being anointed in divine oil, of which the main ingredient was often myrrh. Psalm 45 makes mention of myrrh as a kingly anointing oil, a eulogy suggestive of the coming Messiah. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia (Psalm 45:7-8)
Studies have long suggested that furanoeudesma-1,3-diene and curzarene a compound found in myrrh may interact with opiod receptors in the brain, an implication of an analgesic property. In the New Testament according to Mark, myrrh is offered to Jesus to alleviate His suffering, but Jesus refuses. “And they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it”. (Mark 15:22-23). The Lords refusal to sooth his suffering before death is in direct correlation with His rightful role as the one and only Mediator between God and men, whom can present us unflawed in the presence of God’s glory.
According to John, myrrh was later used in the preparation of Jesus’ body for burial. “And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury” (John 19:39-40)
In the Old Testament, the High Priest served as an intermediary between man and God, Frankincense was placed on the inner Alter of the Tabernacle burning throughout the day sending a pleasing scent to God, however with the birth of the Lord, the gift of Frankincense and Myrrh is suggestive of the Magi’s understanding of Moses and David’s promise. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5)”
The symbolism of Frankincense to the infant Christ therefore speaks of His role as a High Priest, an intercessory, and a confession that He Is the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)