During the Christmas season, we often read the story of the Wise Men. Whether there were three or four or a hundred matters not, because to debate that issue is a frivolous waste of time. The whole focus of the passage in chapter two of Matthew’s Gospel chronicling the events of the Magi is not on the Magi themselves, rather the focus is on the Christ child. We sing songs like “We Three Kings,” among others, that tell of the long distance that was traveled by these guys. The thing that usually stands out is the types of gifts they brought to Baby Jesus. Say them with me: “Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” While there was a great value attached to each of these items, the bigger picture is what they mean in connection to the newborn King.
His royalty, his deity, his humanity, and his death can be found in the significance of these gifts. These gifts really paint a picture for us that describes his reason for coming to earth—he was born to die for the sins of humanity. His birth would have been meaningless without his death and his death would have been impossible without his birth. The two go hand-in-hand and are equally necessary.
I love to dig deeper and study the further implications of the three gifts that the Bible tells us they brought, but I always like to highlight the fact that there was a greater gift which we find in Matthew 2:11. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Did you catch it? They worshiped him! The greatest gift that we can give to Jesus is our worship. He is far more interested in that than he is our thousands of dollars, although there is an appropriate biblical foundation for offering a portion of our income to his work.
Now one could argue and say, “Yes, well, all of the guests of all of the kings throughout all of history have paid homage by bowing before them in what we refer to as worship.” Okay, I will give you that much. But if you remember, these guys followed a star until it led them to the house where the young child Jesus was living. This is the only case of something like this happening. These wise men did not invest months or even years into making a visit to someone who was just another king. They knew that he was the Messiah come in the flesh to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
So the worship the Magi offered to Jesus was more than just our equivalent of a handshake or a hug. Their gifts alone were clearly thought out, not just randomly picked out last minute from the Hebrew Lobby Arts and Crafts Store or Wise-Mart (okay, enough of that!). Their gifts would serve as a symbol that would communicate his birth’s meaning over 2,000 years into the future, and counting. There was prophetic significance in them that no other individual would have the right to receive on this occasion. We know that he literally fulfilled hundreds of prophecy at his first coming and life and death while on the earth.
What does your life say in terms of the gifts you give to the Lord? Do you give him your worship or are you content to be self-serving? Do you dedicate your entire being to his purposes or is you worship lacking, or completely absent? These are critical questions that each of us must ask ourselves, not only during the holiday season, but every day of our lives. Each of us needs to be brutally honest with ourselves and examine our hearts to make sure that in the midst of all the gold and silver we are throwing into the work of the Lord, that we are first and foremost giving him our worship—the most valuable thing. It is without a doubt the greatest gift that we can ever give back to him as a thank you for his marvelous grace that came to earth in the form of a humble Child-king.
Photo credit: Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash
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