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The Myrrh, Resurrection, and Cancer Connection

What does myrrh have to do with Jesus’ resurrection and cancer?  The answer is HOPE.

If you were to ask Jesus’ disciples and friends how they felt on the day Jesus was hung on the cross, I’m sure they would have responded – HOPELESS.  Soon after Jesus exhaled his last breath, two of His grieving friends, Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus prepared His body for burial.

“Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy five pounds.  Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.  This was in accordance with the Jewish burial customs. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the (garden) tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” (John 19:39-40,42) The stone is rolled away from the grave on Easter morning.

Early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  After breaking the news to the disciples, Peter and John made a mad dash to the tomb. Indeed, the body was gone. The only sign of Jesus’ remains were the myrrh perfumed linen. (John 20)

Sunday evening, the fear filled, distraught disciples had a surprise visit – JESUS!

He [Jesus] stood among them and said, “Peace with with you!  After He said this He showed them his hands and side.  The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  Again Jesus said,  “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:19-21).

Talk about a turnaround!  Jesus turned hopeless, grieving friends into HOPE-FILLED disciples.  Jesus is still alive today and working through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  When we receive and have a relationship with Jesus, He is our Living Hope on earth and for eternity.  Through this HOPE, a “resurrection” in the lives of many is found through Jesus (Romans 6).

Myrrh and Cancer

If you are crushed by the diagnosis of cancer for yourself or a loved one, Jesus, provides hope not only through The Word and His Spirit, but by what He has created.  There are some scientific studies that indicate that myrrh slows or kills the growth of certain cancer cells.  There is a need for more research, but the studies that have already been done show promise that myrrh and other essential oils may help those with cancer to have hope for recovery (See references below).

Myrrh, the fragrance of the resurrection and other essential oils may be an answer to those battling cancer.  Would you join me in praying for the science community to do more research on this God given gift?


Chen, Y., Zhou, C., Ge, Z., Liu, Y., Liu, Y., Feng, W., Li, S., Chen, G., Wei, T. “Composition and potential anticancer activities of essential oils obtained from myrrh and frankincense“. Oncology Letters 6.4 (2013): 1140-1146.

Gao, Wenyan, et al. “Cycloartan-24-ene-1α, 2α, 3β-triol, a cycloartane-type triterpenoid from the resinous exudates of Commiphora myrrha, induces apoptosis in human prostatic cancer PC-3 cells.” Oncology reports 33.3 (2015): 1107-1114.

Lemenith, Mulgeta, and Demel Teketay. “Frankincense and myrrh resources of Ethiopia: II. Medicinal and industrial uses.” SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science 26.2 (2005): 161-172.

Lissoni, Paolo, et al. “A randomized study of chemotherapy versus biochemotherapy with chemotherapy plus Aloe arborescens in patients with metastatic cancer.” in vivo 23.1 (2009): 171-175.

Nandini Gautam, Anil K. Mantha, and Sunil Mittal, “Essential Oils and Their Constituents as Anticancer Agents: A Mechanistic View,” BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, Article ID 154106, 23 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/154106

Nobili, Stefania, et al. “Natural compounds for cancer treatment and prevention.” Pharmacological Research 59.6 (2009): 365-378.

Shi, Feng et al. “Preparation and Characterization of Solid Lipid Nanoparticles Loaded with Frankincense and Myrrh Oil.” International Journal of Nanomedicine 7 (2012): 2033–2043. PMC. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

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