Last week, we looked a little into the people who came to seek Jesus and caused quite the stir around Jerusalem. This week, let’s take a closer look at the specific gifts they brought Him, and what we can take away from it.
Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11, CSB)
What was the significance of the gifts given to Jesus?
- Practical – these gifts would be used to provide for Jesus as He and His family fled to Egypt.
- Prophetic – more importantly, these gifts would highlight the nature and character of the Christ child.
As we examine this passage, let’s consider each of these gifts so that we can better understand who Jesus is and why He came.
The gift of Gold
In the ancient world gold was symbolic of royalty. Kings and Queens were arraigned in gold and other precious metals and gems. When the wise men presented gold to Jesus, they were affirming that the Lord Jesus was King! But what kind of King? The truth is He is King of Kings, the King of the Universe.
During this holiday season as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, remember that He came to be your King.
The gift of Frankincense
Frankincense in the ancient world was a precious spice. The priests of Israel would have this spice burning on the altar of incense in the holy place of the tabernacle and also the temple. For them, it was symbolic of the priesthood and offering prayers to the Lord.
The wise men gave frankincense to Jesus to help us understand that He was to be a High Priest. As scripture says, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:17, CSB)
As you celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s remember that He came to be your Great High Priest. As the writer of Hebrews says; Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16, CSB)
The gift of Myrrh
This spice was symbolic of death. It was used for the embalming of the dead. The wise men were giving Jesus the gift of myrrh because this gift would point to the purpose of His life, that is, His death.
Jesus was born to die. In fact, hundreds of years before the prophet Isaiah said:
But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6, CSB)
As you celebrate the birth of Christ, remember that He came to die for you!
What can we learn from the wise men?
The wise men followed the light of a star and that light led them to Jesus. God gives us light (discernment) and we must follow (obey) the path He sets before us.
The path of the righteous is as the first gleam of the dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18, NIV)
When you and I walk in the light God provides, He will provide more light! That is, when you and I obey God’s will, God will reveal more of His will to us.
For years, I was a college pastor and helped students discern God’s will for their lives. For example, a student would make an appointment with me and say, “Bro. T, I want to know God’s will for my life” meaning I want a blueprint for my life. I want to know all that will happen for the next several years. In other words, they wanted to know the future and all that it holds.
When I could get a word in, I would help them understand that the “will of God” could be described as one step of obedience at a time. I would tell them that if they want to know God’s will for the future, they should obey what they know to be His will today! When they obey God’s will today and walk in it, He will reveal more of His will tomorrow.
Want to know God’s will? Follow the example of the wise men; walk in the light that you have, and God will provide more light!