Summary: Jesus isn’t looking for gold, frankincense and myrrh as much as he is looking for our gift of praise and worship.
What Will You Give to Jesus?
By Pastor Jim May
Matthew 2:1-11, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
We are in the Christmas Season and at this time of year our thoughts always turn toward the birth of Jesus Christ during that long and wonderful night in the little town of Bethlehem. This story has been told for 2000 years and more, and yet every time we read it, or hear it, there is always a freshness and we often find something new that ministers to our heart with each passing year. This morning I want to draw your attention to the Three Wise Men, those three kings from the east who arrived at some point after Jesus was born.
The time frame of their visit has always been a point of contention or confusion among Bible scholars, but nearly all of them agree on one thing: The visit of the wise men to the new Son of God, didn’t happen on the same night that Jesus was born in that stable and laid in the manger. The time estimates have been anywhere from 40 days to 2 years after Jesus was born. The beautiful Nativity sets that can be seen around the church are really great but in all likelihood, no such scene ever really took place, even though it makes for a great picture.
The birth of Jesus was a giant step forward in God’s plan of salvation for lost humanity and it marked the fulfillment of numerous prophetic scriptures throughout God’s Word. But it wasn’t the final step. It marked the beginning of the end for the powers of darkness; and it marked the end of the beginning for the lost souls of men who needed a Savior. On that very morning, while he laid in that manger as an innocent baby (and I might add, the only innocent baby ever born), Jesus took his very first step towards the Cross. It would take him 33 ½ years to complete the journey, but he never wavered in his commitment to go all the way.
I thank God for sending his only Son in that manger. I can only worship Jesus who never turned back, but kept his eyes set on that final, eternally important goal, of being the perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world. I thank God for the Love of God that held Jesus to that cross for me, when nails could not have done it. I thank God that Jesus laid down his life, willingly, for no demons of hell, nor soldiers of the mighty Roman Army could have held him if Jesus had not surrendered willingly. The death of Jesus on that cross, and his resurrection, were planned in the mind of God from eternity past, fulfilled in time past and will stand for all eternity future. From the moment of man’s creation in the Garden, to the instant in time when time shall be no more, the moment that defines our existence is all wrapped up in a beautiful gift package known as the Lord Jesus Christ.
God instituted the idea of giving gifts and the gifts that he gives are almost beyond comprehension. Ephesians 4:8 says, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." God’s gifts are eternal, supernatural and each one is more valuable than all the wealth of the world. Yet they are gifts, given freely by the hand of the Lord to us all.