Bible Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
After His birth Jesus when He was eight days old was circumcised, and at that time was given the name JESUS. Thirty-three days later, according the law in Leviticus 12:3-4 Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord [Luke 2:21-24]. Mary, Joseph and Jesus then returned to Bethlehem, living in a house, and remained there for some time, perhaps up to two years. When the Magi came to worship Jesus He was now no longer a baby and the Bible now refers to Him as a “young child.” It is often considered that Jesus may have been approaching two years of age. Perhaps this was the reason that Herod wanted to kill all the male children under two years of age.
When these three men saw the young child they fell down and worshipped Him. Perhaps these were the first gentiles to worship Jesus. Worship is always in the Bible in the context of sacrifice and of giving something of value. King David, centuries before had said, “I will not give to the Lord that which has cost me nothing” [2 Samuel 24:24]. The Magi brought gifts that were of considerable value and had a prophetic meaning.
First there was gold. Gold was always a symbol of deity, and as they offered that gift they were not just saying that He was the King of the Jews, but they were declaring that He was God.
Secondly, there was frankincense. This was highly fragrant and used in worship in presenting an offering to God [Exodus 30:34]. It is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. Jesus was the Righteous and Holy One who was willing to become a sacrifice and offer Himself fully to do the Father’s will.
Thirdly, there was myrrh. This was a spice used in embalming, and it symbolizes bitterness, suffering and affliction. Jesus would grow up to suffer greatly and to give His life upon the cross for us.
What an offering of prophetic significance declaring that Jesus is God, speaking of His offering of Himself and of His death upon the cross.
At Christmas we sometimes sing these words:
“What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him: give my heart.”