After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they 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, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11).
Yesterday, we met the ‘wise men from the East’, the Magi, the men ‘who should not have been there but they were’. Today, we’ll spend some more time with them as we focus not so much on who they were but what they did. What did they do when the star stopped over the place where Jesus was?
We know how they felt when they saw the star – “they were overjoyed”, but how did what they were feeling on the inside translate into what they did on the outside?
The first thing we note is that these men
Gave Of Their Gifts!
We all know about the gifts they present to Jesus. The text tells us they “presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh”(11).
Now, really, these were not typical baby gifts, were they? We’d expect them to have brought some nappies, or wet-wipes, or bibs – not gold, frankincense or myrrh!
Many sermons have been preached on these gifts and their significance, and we don’t have time to look at them all today, but there is an interesting suggestion, which I rather like. These items: gold, frankincense and myrrh, would have been used regularly by these men in their practice of astrology and fortune-telling,etc. So, by giving these tools of the trade to Jesus could they be renouncing their former way of life? Could they be trading it in, so to speak, for the treasures they now found in Jesus?
Of course, the Bible doesn’t give us much insight into the symbolism of these gifts and their meaning, but rather the fact itself. These men presented their gifts to Jesus. That which they had been blessed with, they now surrender it to the Saviour.
What a fitting reminder to all of us to evaluate how we are contributing to the work of the Lord by way of our talents, our time, our resources to God’s work.
Out of hearts of joy and thankfulness, these men give of their gifts. May we too do so.
Not only did these men, who should not have been there, give of their gifts, but they also
Gave Of Themselves – They Worshiped
As they enter the presence of Jesus, these men do something out of character; something that does not tie up with their positions of influence.
“They bowed down and worshiped him” (v11).
Now the word used here for “bowed” is the Greek word “pepto” = to descend from a higher place to a lower. These men, physically bow down; they physically descend from a higher place to a lower and fall prostrate before Jesus. That could be seen by all present. But what could not be seen, was their hearts descending from a higher place to a lower.
Here we find these Gentiles, now humbling themselves, and bowing before a Jewish Messiah. Bowing before the living God!
They would not have been able to do this on the outside, unless something had taken place on the inside.
Their bodies, were merely following what had already taken place in their hearts.
They had gotten it wrong. All along they studied Astrology – studying how the heavenly bodies had an influence on human affairs and life. But here they were in the presence of the One of Whom it is said:
“16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. “ (Col 1:16-17).
So, not only do they give of their gifts, they give of themselves – their hearts, their devotion, their allegiance is pledged to this King of kings; this Lord of lords.
I wonder if there’s a reminder here to all of us that as much as what our time, our talents and our finances are needed in the work of the Lord, what the Lord desires before any of these things is us – our hearts; our devotion.
Will you do that today, Dear Friend. Will you give your all to the One Who gave His all for you.
Lord, all I have is what has been given by You,
So, in turn I surrender them all before your throne;
Take my gifts, my skills, my self, my all,
They’ve been borrowed, none are mine to own.