Summary: The magi brought the child, Jesus three symbolic gifts. These gifts can be interpreted in light of the greatest command as a pledge of allegiance to him.
1. Red Skelton Pledge of Allegiance -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HGHdFmu5GU
2. The Greatest Command is a "pledge of allegiance" to God -- Deuteronomy 6.4-9
3. The Wise Men gave a Pledge of Allegiance to Jesus with their gifts -- Matthew 2.1-11
a. Typically we see the gold as Royalty; Frankincense as worship; and Myrrh as the death of Jesus
b. Let's apply these to the greatest command
4. The story of the Wise Men is a story of mystery, for it presents questions that we cannot answer.
5. "Where did they come from?" We don't know"
a. "How many were there?" We really aren't sure.
b. "How did they know to follow the star?" We're not told.
c. Scripture doesn't give many details, but tradition has had a heyday! Tradition says that they were 3 in number, & that they traveled on camels across the desert, silhouetted against the nighttime sky, graced with palm trees.
d. Tradition gives their names as Casper, Melchior, Baltezar. Tradition tells us where they came from, what they did, & where they went.
I. Gold, The Standard of Wealth (Love God with all your might)
A. Literally -- Muchness or "very"; seen in possessions/wealth
B. The Call is to Give God Authority Over Our Possessions
1. He gave them to us, what will we do with them? Ecclesiastes 5.19
Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil--this is the gift of God.
2. Element of Stewardship
3. Element of Generosity -- the greater the love, the greater the gift
C. Subject of wealth is an important topic
1. 1/3 of Jesus' parables are about money
2. "The most sensitive nerve in the human body is the one between the heart and the wallet."
3. Widow's coins (out of her poverty; their abundance) -- Mark 12.41-44
4. Rabbis: "We come into this world with clenched fists, grasping all we can. We leave this world with open hands, taking nothing."
5. How we deal with our wealth/possessions/might is an indicator of our love and commitment to God -- RYR -- Luke 18.18-30
II. Frankincense, the Heart of Worship (All Your Heart)
A. Heart -- Inwardness of Emotion and Mind -- Proverbs 23.7
[The stingy man] . . . is like one who is inwardly calculating. (or is as he thinks in his heart)
B. Frankincense is a Valuable Oil
1. To be offered to God in the incense formula (Exodus 3.34-35)
2. Stored in temple for fellowship and thank offerings
C. Representative of Prayer
1. Key worship/service of the heart
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! Psalm 141.2
8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.9 And they sang a new song, Revelation 5.8-9a
2. Know before whom we stand and act accordingly
3. Replay the words of the last 24 hours -- what would we hear?
III. Myrrh, the Gift of Life (All your Soul)
A. Anointing Oil (Messiah)
1. Pain Killer offered to Jesus on the Cross (Mark 15.23)
2. For use on dead bodies (John 19.39)
B. Offering of Soul (Life)
1. Jesus poured out his blood (life) -- Matthew 26.28
2. He was a fragrant offering -- Ephesians 5.2
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
a. Alabaster Box -- Mark 14.3
b. Pouring out of love an expensive, fragrant offering
3. We, too are to be fragrant offerings -- 2 Corinthians 2.14-16
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
4. Reminder of resurrection
b. Ours -- Romans 6.1-4
1. King Edward VIII
During his reign, King Edward VIII of England was especially concerned about social conditions. He once decided to visit some of the homes in a slum section of the waterfront where he was to christen a ship. He stopped first at a house in which lived one of the most disreputable men in the area. He had become a social outcast. Hearing a knock at his door, he shouted in a gruff voice, "Who is it?!" The answer came back, "I am your king. May I come in?" Thinking it was a cruel joke, the man refused to open the door. The king, a gentleman who respected the rights of a man in his own household, would not force his way in, so he turned and left. And this poor man missed seeing his king.