Summary: This sermon looks at the gifts of Christmas and also the importance of giving.
Title: “The ultimate Gift”
Text: Matthew 2:1-11
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: Wednesday night, while visiting with my family in Calvert City we watched a movie starring James Garner entitled, “The Ultimate Gift.” In the movie Garner plays the part of a Rich Billionaire who dies leaving an estate worth billions of dollars. As you can imagine his sons and the rest of his family was eager to get their hands on his money. In order to get the inheritance that his grandfather wanted him to have, a young man named “Jason” played by actor “Drew Fuller” had to learn a few lessons. His grandfather referred to these lessons as gifts. He learned about the gift of work, while working on a ranch in Texas. He learned the value of friendship when he met a little girl and her mother in the park. Later, he learned the lesson of giving when he found out that the little girl had Leukemia and her mother was behind on her bills because of the daughters medical bills. In order to meet His grandfather’s requirements, and learn the lesson of giving his grandfather wanted him to ‘give away the $1,600 he had earned on a ranch in Texas to someone who needed it worse than he did. Even though it was the only money he had, he saw their need and paid the woman’s debt fulfilling the requirement, but more importantly he learned the lesson that His grandfather had wanted him to learn. It was the same lesson that Jesus told his disciples when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Giving was also an important part of the Christmas story. In the 2nd chapter of Matthew verse 11 we find these words…,
“On coming to the house, they (talking about the wise men) saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of Frankincense and of myrrh.” Matthew 2:11 (NIV)
I. FIRST OF ALL, LET’S TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO EXAMINE THE GIFTS THAT THE WISE MEN PRESENTED TO JESUS.
These were expensive gifts, gifts that were truly fit for a King. Unlike some of the gifts you may have received at Christmas there was nothing cheap or gaudy about the gifts Jesus received from the Wise Men. Not only were they very expensive but they were also very appropriate gifts. You see each of them tell us something about who Jesus was and what He would do.
A. Gold of course was a gift fit for any King.
B. Frankincense was incense, which was often used by priests around the altar in the Temple.
C. Myrrh, was a perfume or spice that was often used to embalm a body.
The Wise Men were looking for a king and the star led them to an infant named Jesus. He was a King but He was radically different than any King that had ever seen before and was certainly not what they had expected to find, when they began their journey.
Later in Life, when Jesus was standing trial before Pilate, Pilate asked Him, “Are you a King? Jesus replied by saying, “You are right in saying I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”
Yes, Jesus was the King of the Jews, In fact He is the “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords,” and He is much more wonderful than the Wise Men could ever have imagined.
Jewish priests used Frankincense as incense when they were offering sacrifices to God. The priests were seen as the middle men between God and His people. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement the High Priest of Israel would enter into the Holy of Holies and offer an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus became our High Priest, and presented God with the ultimate atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world when He willingly laid down his life on the cross of Calvary. It was Jesus our Great High Priest who was able to ‘bridge the Gap’ between God and His people. No other priest could have done that. So the gift of frankincense was much more appropriate than the wise men could ever have realized.
Myrrh was an appropriate gift for Jesus because He was a person who was born to die. It is somewhat ironic that Jesus died only 15 miles from the little town of Bethlehem, where he was born. His death was redemptive and reconciling in a way that other deaths could never be. Jesus accomplished more for the Kingdom of God in His death than the wise men could ever have understood. Therefore, the gift of myrrh which foreshadowed the death of Christ was certainly an appropriate gift.