Summary: The wise men came to Jesus bearing gifts. The gifts recognize who Jesus was. They recognized him as divine, king, with their gifts. How do you recognize Jesus with what you give to Him and others?
ntro: The background of this story would make any modern day soap opera, or prime time drama writer drool. The wise men meet with a self-absorbed, psychopath by the name of Herod the Great. He was a level headed, friend of the Romans who brought stability to the economy of Judea and built for himself an empire in his early days. As Herod grew older he became suspicious of his sons, daughters, and wives. That fear caused him to slaughter most of his own family and also decree that all children 2 years and below should be put to death. Matthew effectively uses this to show that Jesus is better than Moses. Moses’ life was threatened at this age as well. In Exodus Ramases the believed pharaoh of the time made a similar order. The Hebrews were multiplying so fast he was afraid that they would revolt and take the kingdom of Egypt from them by sheer force.
Herod was afraid of the same thing. He was aware that a child would be born that would become king. He feared the earthly king that would take political control from him. All the while he missed the heavenly king who came to earth to die for him.
It is in this background that the wise men traveled from the east bearing gifts. It is interesting to see what type of men they were. Today they would not be what you think of as church goers. They were magicians, scientists, astrologers, philosophers all rolled into one. They could be what we would call secular supermen.
Despite their background they still recognized Jesus and brought appropriate gifts to honor him. This morning let us look at the three gifts. A kingly gift, a priestly gift, a prophetic gift.
I. The wise men presented a kingly gift (Gold)
A) His Glory
Gold was a gift fit for a king. Solomon had stores of it. The kings of Egypt were clothed with it and sat on it. The house of the king of kings and Lord of Lords was filled with it. Many of the items in the tabernacle in the old Testament were either solid or plated gold.
The golden candlestick represented the presence and light of the Lord. The golden alter. The ark of the covenant Gold for the perfect God and wood for the perfect man.
The gold tells us about Jesus divine nature.
The word for glory in the Old Testament is Shekinah. It comes from a word that means to dwell with.
Remember with me John 1.14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 3.13 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.”
The wise men were recognizing royalty. They did not see a crown up on his head, but they saw his sign in the sky. They had studied the word of God and found the promise of God a child would be born. They were saying this is God with us.
Personal question: What gifts to God or what in your life says Jesus is God with us!
This child was no mere man he was and is the God man. Jesus is divine royalty.
The Gold not only spoke of His glory, but also of His grace.
B) His Grace (Forgiving grace, Interceding grace, Living)
A) Forgiving grace
To see an exact replica of the ark of the covenant you should see placed on it two cherubim atop a golden seat. Exodus 25.17
The gold clearly tells us Jesus is royalty, he is a king, he is God. But it also tells of the grace that comes from Him.
The mercy seat was the place where the High priest sprinkled the blood of the spotless lamb for the forgiveness of sin.
Ephesians 2.8,9 “for by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works lest any man should bost.”
Donald Barnhouse said it best: Love that goes upward is worship. Love that goes outward is affection. Love that stoops is grace.
God stooped down to forgive us. He bent over backwards in the form of a babe that would become a man and bend from a cross and say, “forgive them for they don’t know what they do.” The gift of the wise men recognized forgiving grace.
B) Interceding Grace
Exodus 30.1-7 tells us of the golden altar of incense. 1 Timothy 2.5 tell us that he is the only mediator, the only go between man and God. If not for the grace of Jesus we would not be able to experience the glory of God.