Summary: This message is one which was delivered on Christmas morning 2016. It looks at how strange and peculiar were the gifts that the Magi gave to the baby Jesus, while having also a great prophetic message as to who He would be.
STRANGE GIFTS FOR A NEWBORN KING
1.) Today is that wonderful day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus into this world.
A.) This morning we have exchanged and opened gifts.
aa.) I’m sure that this morning has been a very hectic and exciting time for those with children to open gifts.
ab.) It is a time when there is as much joy at watching the expressions and reactions of the children as they opened their gifts.
B.) Certainly the giving and receiving of gifts is something which we enjoy, and though it may be costly it shows that we hold a special place in our hearts for those we hold near and dear to us.
C.) Today, I want us to look back 2,000 years ago to another time of giving gifts on the occasion of the first Christmas.
ca.) We could even go so far as to say that events of the first Christmas also resembled a baby shower to honour the one who had been born in Bethlehem.
cb.) Today when we have a baby shower there will be gifts of diapers, bottles, toys, receiving blankets, and other such gifts as those.
cc.) What kinds of gifts would be given to the baby Jesus?
-- Matthew 2:11
I. THE MAGI BROUGHT GIFTS OF GOLD.
1.) Gold was a symbolic gift for a king but it was an unusual gift for a newborn baby.
A.) Yet even as a baby, Jesus was recognized as being a King.
aa.) The Magi went to the palace of Herod asking the question “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?”
aaa.) Matthew 2:1-2
aab.) It was only a natural assumption to conclude that the King of the Jews would be born in the palace, and a child of the one who was ruling as a King.
aac.) Yet Jesus was not born in the Palace.
.01) The palace was high on a hill overlooking Bethlehem.
.02) Jesus was born not there, but in a barn or perhaps a cave where the livestock would be kept.
B.) None the less these Magi acknowledged Jesus as being a King.
ba.) Gold was a gift that would be given for a king.
ba.) When the Magi from the east placed a gift of gold at the feet of Jesus it was a gift but also a prophecy declaring that Jesus was or would be a King.
C.) Herod recognized Jesus as a King to the point of trying to kill him.
ca.) Herod was not a full Jew.
cb.) Herod was an Idemean.
cba.) As one without a full claim to the kingship, he felt that one born of the Jewish people would be a challenger for the throne and more likely accepted by the Jewish people, so he tried to kill this baby of Bethlehem.
.01) Matthew 2:7-8, 13
D.) Over three decades later when Jesus was nailed to the cross the Roman governor Pilate recognized Jesus as a king and placed that title above Jesus on the cross.
da.) Perhaps Pilate recognized more of the Kingship of Jesus than did the Jews.
daa.) Perhaps Pilate grasped even a little bit of the words of Jesus that His kingdom was not of this world.
dab.) How amazing that one who was outside of the Jewish faith might actually have had a better understanding of the person and ministry of Jesus than the very people he came to.
E.) Truly the gift of gold was a strange and yet a prophetic gift to give to the Christ-child.
ea.) The other gifts these magi gave to Jesus were every bit as strange, yet also prophetic of the person this baby would become.
II. THE MAGI BROUGHT A GIFT OF FRANKINCENSE.
1.) Like the gift of gold, Frankincense would not usually be in our list of gifts to give to a newborn baby.
A.) It was a gift we would not consider suitable for a baby.
B.) It was like the gold a gift we would consider too extravagant to give to a baby.
ba.) Not only was it too extravagant, but it was just not a suitable gift for a newborn baby.
2.) Frankincense was a commodity used by the priesthood.
A.) According to Wikipedia Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, and comes from slashing the bark of the trees which produce it, and allowing the resin to bleed out and harden.
B.) It was one of the consecrated substances used in perfumes and incense that only the priesthood was to use and this in their service to God.
C.) It was therefore a very symbolic gift to be given to this child in the manger.
ca.) It was a gift that by its very nature was prophetically declaring Jesus to be a priest.