Summary: The wise men brought their gifts to baby Jesus. What do we bring Him?
Matthew 2:11 – And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Background: Herod was upset over all the talk about a new king being born. It infuriated him to imagine that there might be someone else besides he to rule. His plan was to send the Magi to find this baby king and report back to him so that he could then have the baby killed – at his own hand if necessary. Isn’t it amazing what hunger for power and authority can cause some people to devise or do? The intentions and motives of the Magi were pure in that they had no idea the real reason for Herod sending them find to the baby.
The actions of the Magi upon arriving where Baby Jesus was at tells us many things about their feelings/attitude toward this young child.
In the eastern nations, when anyone would pay homage to their king, they would do so by bringing gifts. The Magi, by their actions were acknowledging that they viewed Jesus as a King.
In terms of the gifts brought by the Magi, the timing was quite providential. Joseph and Mary were about to embark on a journey to Egypt, and these gifts would serve as much needed financing for their trip and for many days to come.
o You never know who might be blessed by your giving and you never know in what ways God might use the gifts you give to Him.
o On the other side of this, God knows where each of us is at, and as we learned last week He is Immanuel – He is with us and He is faithful to take care of and provide for us and our needs.
o “What God favors us with, we must honor him with” – Matthew Henry.
The Gifts Brought to Jesus by the Magi:
a. This gift was given to Jesus as a king.
b. The subjects of any kingdom would pay tribute or tax to their king.
c. Gold is a highly sought-after precious metal having been used as money, as a store of value, in jewelry, in sculpture, and for ornamentation since the beginning of recorded history.
d. Gold has forever represented value and prestige. In the Olympic Games, the first place finisher gets a gold medal.
a. This gift was given to Jesus as God.
b. Throughout Old Testament times, the period in which Jesus was born, God was honored and worshipped with the smoke of incense.
c. Frankincense is tapped from a hardy tree through scraping the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears.
d. It is one of the most aromatic and highly sought-after resins/substances and is said to be prominent in and powerful for religious practices.
a. This gift was given to Jesus as a man who should die.
b. Myrrh was commonly used in the process of embalming dead bodies.
c. In ancient times, myrrh was often worth more than its weight in gold, being such a highly sought-after substance.
d. Myrrh was offered to Jesus here as a baby; it was offered to him to drink during His crucifixion; and it was used to prepare His body for burial.
4. Themselves in Submission and Worship
a. We always think and talk about the tangible gifts presented by the Magi to baby Jesus. But, the first thing they presented was themselves in submission and worship.
b. Their gifts alone would not have been as meaningful or even as accepted had they not presented themselves first. How many times do we want to give something in place of ourselves in hopes that that will be enough?
c. The Magi presented themselves to Jesus as a king and as God. They bowed to him to represent His kingly authority. They worshipped Him because they saw Him as God.
d. As we read the story in context, we have no evidence of their bowing before Herod, who was king at the time. Yet, upon arriving to where Jesus was, they quickly bowed before Him.
e. Their bowing and their worship were not directed at Joseph or Mary, but only to Jesus.