- 10 Bydemill Gardens
- SN6 7BS UK
00 44 (0)1793 763141
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David
who is Christ the Lord.”
We come into the New Testament and immediately find that the One promised from before the foundation of the world had come. It was the fullness of time in the Father’s eternal plan. The significant date on the Father’s calendar had arrived. Immanuel had come into the world and the purpose of His coming was to save His people from their sins. In order to do that, He was going to live a sinless life and die, bearing the punishment for their sins. The cross looms into view as soon as we think about the purpose of His coming. The Lord Himself expressed it like this in Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
But, before that, there are at least two points in the Christmas story that point us immediately to the cross. The first is one of the gifts brought by the wise men. There is no mystery in His being brought gold, a valuable gift, signifying His deity. We can also see the significance of the frankincense, again a valuable gift and used in worship, as was incense in the Old Testament ritual. It speaks of the Lord’s role as our Great High Priest.
But myrrh was useful after death as it was used for embalming. We read in John 19:39, “And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.” It was a strange gift for a Baby. How much did the wise men understand the meaning of this gift? What thoughts went through the mind of Mary as she saw myrrh presented to the Son who had been so miraculously conceived? Can we not detect the shadow of the cross here?
Some days later Mary and Joseph made the journey to Jerusalem so that the Baby could be presented to the Lord in accordance with the law of Moses in Exodus 13:2. In the temple they were confronted by the elderly Simeon who had a message for Mary. “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
It was not a particularly comforting message for a new mother, that her soul would be pierced as with a sword. No doubt that was exactly what she felt as she stood at the cross some 33 years later and saw the agony and suffering of her Son as He gave His life a ransom for many.
So we have these two early pointers to the cross in the first week’s of His life.