121. Born to die.
'And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'(Luke 2:12) What seemed like a circumstantial occurance, actually turned out to be a sign because it was in the divine providence of God! The Baby was swaddled ( means to wrap someone, especially a baby in cloth to keep it warm and safe) in strips of linen used to wrap a dead body because nothing else could be found. Swaddling was a common practice in those days and even today among some cultures and therefore that in itself could not be a sign, unless it had something to do with the strips of cloth used! And though born as king of the Jews, had no room in Bethlehem to lay the child! Should have been swaddled in royal fabric but was wrapped with grave clothes! It sounds ironic (happening in a way contrary to what is expected) but was a foreshadowing ( be a warning or indication of a future event) his death. The Magi's gift of myrrh in Matthew 2:11 is further evidence of this foreshadowing. A strange gift for a new born! Gold signified his kingship and frankincense his priesthood but why Myrrh, the bitter perfume used to embalm dead bodies? The Magi seemed to have got a clear revelation of the identity of the Messiah for they asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?"(Matthew 2:2) And after they worshipped him, 'they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.'(Matthew 2:11) The order in which the gifts are mentioned are in itself revealing! Gold, frankincense, Myrrh, meaning he is a King who will serve as Priest and then die for the sins of the world! In his own words, this is how Jesus summed up his life mission: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Was born to die, that we might live forever! As the song goes:
'Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.' Amen