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. 40 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.
I forgot to mention it yesterday but did you notice that Nicodemus has come out of the darkness into the light? The first time he came in the shadows, but now he has come in the full light of day. No more hiding. No more shame. Nicodemus is all in.
Today I want to talk about myrrh and cloth. I distinctly remember the first time I learned about foreshadowing in English class. I grew up a huge fan of the Hardy Boys. I think I read every single novel ever made from both series. As soon as the term was explained I instantly connected it with the Hardy Boys stories. Those books are full of foreshadowing. Guess what other Book is full of it too?
When Jesus was born he was born into poverty. We know this because the Jews had a sliding scale at the temple for animal sacrifices. The animal you were required to bring was based on your income. Those with the lowest income brought doves and that's exactly what Joseph and Mary brought when they had Jesus dedicated at the temple on His 8th day.
Many have speculated that because Jesus was placed in a manger (feed trough) for a place to sleep that He was born in some kind of barn or stable. That is possible but it's more likely that a manger was used for His bed because of their economic situation. Read Luke 2 carefully and you discover that Jesus was not born as they were arriving in Bethlehem but after they had been they for a while. Clearly then they already had lodging. The text says she placed Him in a feed trough because there was no room in the kataluma which has been translated inn but can as accurately be translated guest room. The room they were in had no place or space for Jesus to sleep so she put Him in a feed trough. Something small that could fit pretty much anywhere. Do you see the foreshadowing? Jesus came but we had no room for Him. Jesus came to be our Bread but we weren't hungry...
Their financial situation would also explain the swaddling cloths that Mary used to wrap Him. You would expect that a family that is expecting the birth of a miracle baby who was announced by angels would have something fancy to cloth Him in. Perhaps something from Baby Gap if nothing else. However it says she wrapped Him in cloths. The plural indicates poverty. A swaddling cloth was intended to wrap a baby snugly and mimic the confines of the womb. It was and still is in many places and by many people believed to help a baby sleep better. A swaddling cloth (singular) is what you would expect but she wrapped Him in cloths. Not only does this indicate poverty but it is foreshadowing what Nicodemus and the others are doing to Jesus in our passage today. They are binding Him in strips of linen cloth.
When the 'wide men' came from the east they brought three different gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold for a king, incense for a Priest, and myrrh for burial.
Jesus was placed in a manger because He didn't have His own room. He was placed in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb because He didn't have His own tomb.
He was born poor and died poor. He was wrapped in burial like cloths at the beginning and with the same at the end. He received myrrh at the start and was covered with it at the last.
Foreshadowing. The whole Story was told right from the start...
Just remember He isn't done with the incense yet and the gold is yet to come...smile emoticon
See you tomorrow...