Have you finished your Christmas shopping? I heard about a dad recently who suggested that his family get him a gift that everyone could get something out of. So they did they bought him a new wallet!
Giving gifts at the Christmas season may have something to do with the gifts of the wise men who came to see Jesus. Someone has suggested that there were actually four wise men but the fourth guy’s gift was fruitcake and he wasn’t allowed on the trip!
The story of these unknown visitors who came to see Jesus is full of mysteries! (See Matthew 2:1-12). The Magi could have come to see Jesus as late as 2 years after his birth. The text says they saw him in a “house”, not a manger. After all, this was a 1000 mile trip! They were the professors and philosophers of their day, originating from the country we now call Iraq. They were brilliant and highly educated scholars who were trained in medicine, history, religion, prophecy and astronomy.
“Because of their combined knowledge of science, agriculture, mathematics, history, and the occult, they became the most prominent and powerful group of advisors in the … Babylonian empire…” ~ John MacArthur
They were also trained in what we would call astrology. This was connected with people’s search for God. The ancients studied the skies in order to find answers to the great questions of life–Questions like: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? They would have been traveling with an entourage of 300, not just by themselves.
What did they know? A baby had been born but they didn’t know where. He was a King but didn’t know His name. They had seen a star – a detail that has baffled astronomers for 2000 years! When they finally find Jesus … to the outward eye, he was nothing but a peasant child born in dire poverty. But to the Magi, he was a King. To this baby they gave the honor due a king.
Three expensive gifts for The King. Gold is one of the rarest and most expensive metal. It represented the wealth and power of a king. Frankincense was used in the temple worship of the Lord; it is incense. It represents the infant’s deity- He is truly God born in a human body. Myrrh is a kind of perfume made up from the leaves of a rose. It was used in beauty treatments, but when mixed with vinegar it became an anesthetic. When a person died it was used to anoint the body and prepare it for burial. 75 pounds of myrrh and other spices were used on the body of Jesus.
The Magi gave wonderful gifts, but no gift will ever be as precious or valuable as the gift that has been given to us by God in Christ (John 3:16). Romans 5 tells us about three gifts that come from Jesus Christ.
1. A Life that Is Forgiven (Rom. 5:1). We are justified by faith and have peace with God.
2. A Life that Is Forever (Rom. 5:2). We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. “Hope” here is a reference to the return of Christ and our life in glory with Him.
3. A Life that Is Fortified (Rom. 5:3–5). We persevere in tribulations, strengthened by His love that is shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit.
We have a great example of gift giving in the story of the wise men, and in the giving of Christ himself. We need to know that God is the greatest gift giver of all time.
– It is most important for us to Receive Christ’s gifts.
– He came all the way from heaven to give them to you.
Audio of this message can be heard HERE.
Thanks for reading,