All I Want For Christmas

Lesson 3: Myrrh

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Students learn about the significance of myrrh used in worship within the Bible.


• To teach students about the significance of myrrh used in worship in the Bible
• To make students aware of God's enormous sacrifice to reunite us with Him
• To inspire each student to live a life of sacrifice as Jesus did


Christmas, Knowing Jesus, Sacrifice 

Scripture Memorization:

1 John 2:2

OPENING PRAYER (5 to 10 minutes)

GROUP BUILDING (10 minutes)

Gift Scramble

(You may want to have several extra, inexpensive, gifts on hand for students who forgot to bring a gift or for any visitors who may be attending.)

Put all the gifts in a pile. Next, have students draw numbers (include as many numbers as you have participants). Each student draws a number. This is the order in which they will select a gift from the pile brought in.

As students have their turn, they can either pick one from the pile or swipe one away from a member of your group who has already opened his or her gift. Popular gifts can be stolen no more than three times. The third owner keeps the gift, and it is no longer eligible to be stolen. What results are a lot of laughs, fun, and gift giving. Enjoy!

GETTING STARTED (10 minutes)

General Discussion:
• Who likes their present? How many of you will bring it back the next time we do this just to get rid of it?
• What makes a gift special or valuable to you?
• During the past two weeks we learned about two gifts the Magi gave to Mary and Joseph, what were they? (Frankincense and gold.)

Today we are going to talk about the third gift and what belief the Magi had about Jesus.

DIGGING DEEP (15 minutes)

Read Matthew 2:1-12

We read that chapter last week, but I wanted to read it again to set the stage for the entire Magi story. Let’s review what we know about them so far based on the passage we just read.

Discussion Questions:
1. We read this passage twice before in the first two lessons. Does anything new stick out to you?
2. The third gift given to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus was the gift of myrrh. What is myrrh? (Allow for discussion.)

Myrrh is mentioned 17 times in the New International Version of the Bible. It’s in the Old and NewTestament. Instead of just telling you, let’s read some passages and discover for ourselves what it is. (The verses from Song of Solomon, six in all, have been left out to eliminate any distraction based on that content. The Matthew reference has just been read. The reference in Mark will be read later in the lesson.)

Have students read each of the following verses. Then ask the questions that follow.

• Genesis 37:25
• Genesis 43:11
• Exodus 30:23
• Esther 2:12
• Psalm 45:8
• Proverbs 7:17
• John 19:39
• Revelation 18:13

Discussion Questions:
1. What can we conclude about what myrrh is? (A spice.)
2. What was its main use? (A perfume.)
3. What do you sense about its value? (It was very valuable.)

Myrrh had several uses. Before embalming was common, bodies would be wrapped in cloth and spices. Myrrh was likely one of those. On one occasion, a woman who anticipated His death anointed Jesus with a similar mixture.

Read Matthew 26:10-13

Discussion Questions:
1. What does the woman do with the perfume? (Pours it on Jesus head.)
2. Why would the woman use the perfume in this way? (To prepare Jesus for burial.)

This is not the only time Jesus is offered myrrh. This woman anoints Jesus with this mixture, anticipating His death. Later, while hanging on the cross, Jesus is offered myrrh mixed with wine as a drink. Both times, this myrrh concoction is mentioned in the narrative about Jesus' death.

Read Mark 15:22-24

Discussion Questions:
1. What is happening to Jesus in these moments? (He is being crucified.)
2. Why would they offer Him perfume to drink? (We don’t know for sure, but we know it would have tasted bitter and that He refused.)

Most commentators conclude that the bottom line is this: the Magi, in laying myrrh at Jesus feet when He was young, were at least acknowledging (some would assert prophesying) that He would be a sacrifice.

MAKING IT REAL (15 minutes)

What does that mean to us? What can we learn from the little baby, lying in the manger, who was destined to die?

Discussion Questions:
1. What do you think it would be like for your sole mission in life to be to die in someone else’s place?
2. At what point do you think Jesus realized it was His purpose to die? (We have no way of knowing. The question is meant to spark discussion.)
3. Did Jesus live a sacrificial life even before He died on the cross? How so? (He served others, loved others, did not live a self-indulgent life, etc.)
4. How should Jesus' humble and sacrificial life affect our own? (As followers of Jesus, we should live like He lived.)

Read Philippians 2:5-8

Discussion Questions:
1. What does this passage describe? (How God came to earth in the person and work of Jesus.)
2. What does this passage say He was like? (“He made himself nothing,” “took on the nature of a servant,” “became obedient to death...on a cross,” etc.)
3. How can we explain the God of the Universe behaving like that? (He was very sacrificial.)

If Jesus was sacrificial in coming to earth, in living as a human being, in serving those whom He had created, and even in dying in our place so that we might be forgiven of sin, then what should our lives be like?

I think it’s time for us to die, too. Just as the Magi marked Jesus from the beginning, we must mark this place and this time as the moment when we realize that we are supposed to sacrifice ourselves, too.

Re-read Philippians 2:5

We are supposed to have the same mindset as Jesus did--a sacrificial mindset destined to put others before ourselves. 

CLOSING PRAYER (10 minutes)

Close by praying that your students live lives as Jesus did—by putting others' needs before His own.

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