Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Gifts of the Wise Men

In the New Testament the wise men from the east came to Bethlehem and brought gifts for Jesus (Matthew 2:11).  They were wise men and they were also wealthy men for they brought expensive gifts.  It's hard to choose presents, they should be appropriate for the person, but the wise men were wise in their choice and each of their gifts was appropriate for Jesus.

Frankincense for the Son

Frankincense was obtained by cutting a particular tree and collecting the sap.  It is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 30:34-36 'Take for yourself spices with pure frankincense ... with it you shall make incense.'  There was an altar of incense in the Tabernacle and the Temple and the incense was an offering to God.

Jesus is the Son of God.  He is Emmanuel - God with us.  'The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:14).  In one of his hymns Charles Wesley wrote, 'Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man.'  He is divine - only the Son of God could feed the hungry, raise the dead and calm the stormy sea.

Myrrh for the Saviour

Myrrh is an Aramaic word meaning 'bitter'.  There was myrrh at His birth, at His bleeding (Mark 15:23) and at His burial (John 19:39).  Myrrh speaks of death and He was born to die. 
   His name shall be Jesus, the angel told Mary,
   God's Son sent to save lost mankind from his sin.
   So let's tell the story of Christ and His glory.
   No time to lose, let's shout the news, He died to save.
The myrrh tree has many long thorns and they remind us of the crown of thorns that was placed on the head of Jesus at Calvary.  Myrrh was an appropriate gift for a Saviour who would die for the sin of the world.

Gold for the Sovereign

Gold is a gift for a Sovereign - a royal crown will always be made of gold.  Gold is mentioned only in Matthew, the gospel of the Sovereign, and it is mentioned five times.  Matthew records the question of the wise men, 'Where is he that is born king of the Jews?' (v 2)

In the Tabernacle and Temple, the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, the golden altar of incense, the lampstand and the utensils were either made of pure gold or acacia wood covered with gold.  The streets of heaven are made of 'pure gold (Rev 21:18,21).

He is the king of kings and the lord of lords and He who came as Saviour will come again as Sovereign.  He who came in meekness will come again in majesty.  He who came in grace will come again in glory.  The government will be upon His shoulders and His reign will never end (Isaiah 9:6,7).

He is the Son, the Saviour and the Sovereign.  How important it is for each one of us to know Him personally as our Saviour and our Sovereign.

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