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The Best Gifts

December 7, 2021

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

Matthew 2:11 is the first time in Scripture we are told that Jesus was worshiped. Notice that Matthew made sure to note that the wise men worshiped, “the child.” Great emphasis is placed on the fact that Jesus was just a child. The title “child” in that day would have been a vivid contrast with someone who was a king or who was considered great. In fact, in the ancient world, status was quite important and children were at the bottom of the ladder. The word for “child” in both Greek and Latin literally means, “not speaking.” Children were literally to be seen and not heard, much less worshiped. That just makes the wise men’s worship of this child more miraculous. What faith they had!

The gifts they brought to the Jesus-child illustrate their faith in who He was. They gave Him gold – the gift fit for a king. When they gave him this gift they were recognizing His royalty. They were unashamedly proclaiming, “You are not just a child in a mother’s lap. You are a King sitting on a throne.”

The wise men also gave Jesus frankincense. If you had gone to the Temple to a worship service you would have found the priest burning frankincense. It represented the prayers of God’s people going into the nostrils of the God who created the universe. It was a symbol of worship and we are told clearly that frankincense was to be used in the worship of God alone. Besides giving this child their wealth in the form of gold, they were giving Him their worship in the form of frankincense. They were saying, “You are not only a king…you are a god!”

Then they gave Jesus the most puzzling gift of all. They gave Him myrrh. They were supposed to be celebrating this child’s birth, but they gave Him a gift that is reserved for death. Myrrh was used for burial. What they were saying was, “You are not just a king and not just a god. You are the Savior!” And while they did not understand it all, they knew this child didn’t just come to be born and to live; but He came to die…and to die for us.

The wise men were not Jews. They were pagans and idolaters. Up until a couple of years before they worshiped the stars. Now they are worshiping Jesus – the light of the world. So many people today are looking everywhere except the Word of God for answers to life. They are doing everything except the will of God trying to find meaning in life. They are worshiping everything except the Son of God in everyday life. But there is no joy like believing the Word of God, doing the will of God, and giving your worship to the Son of God. That is what Christmas is all about.

Dear Lord, I know full well that this world throws a lot at us to try to capture our attention and our worship. But I only want to worship you and spend my life glorifying you. So when I'm tempted to look to the right or to the left, remind me to look up and focus my worship on you so that I might experience the unmatched joy that comes with following you. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Topics: Joy

Bible Reference

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
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