Listen: We Three Kings
Read: Isaiah 53:1-11
The Birth of Immanuel is a glorious truth. God tabernacled with men. The Infinite God humbled Himself. Our Immortal Creator wrapped Himself in mortal flesh and was tempted and still maintained His absolute holiness.
Jesus’ active obedience was half of the necessary obedience to win the sinners’ salvation. The second half of Jesus’ obedience is sometimes described as his passive obedience. Here in this hymn, “We Three Kings,” the gift of myrrh is depicted as a prophetic gift for the newborn King who has come to live sinless and to die as the atonement for sin. Jesus actively obeyed the law of God through living and fulfilling it, and passively obeyed the law of God by becoming the ultimate Sacrifice once and for all.
This song points our minds to the inevitable death of Mary’s Son. If we are not careful in our thinking we may be tempted to dismiss this kind of greeting to the newborn Saviour as less than appropriate. The gift of myrrh by the magi described in Matthew 2 was not expressly stated to be foretelling of Jesus’ death, but Simeon in Luke 2 clearly prophesied of the violent death at Jesus’ circumcision ceremony on the eighth day. Therefore, to speak of Jesus’ death in the context of his Advent is exactly the way the Scripture teaches us. The arrival of the King was unexpected and the method used to build His kingdom was at least as equally unexpected.
Isaiah said, Who would believe this gospel? Who would believe that the Messianic King would conquer through death?! There was nothing more confusing to the apostles as Jesus’ passive obedience in the cross. However, there was nothing more celebrated by the apostles than Jesus’ passive obedience in the cross that overcame every one of our sins and for all time. Selah.