Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11).
We spent a few days on the Magi from the East – who they were, what they did…today we start reflecting on the gifts they brought to Jesus, the first one presented being ‘gold’. While not necessarily the most precious or valuable in today’s terms, gold has, in recorded history, always been regarded as a precious metal, something most usually associated with wealth and royalty. It was no different in biblical times –
21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days.
It certainly is not surprising that one of the gifts brought by the wise men, was gold. After all, their search was for the one who was “born king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2).
A gift of costly gold was indeed a gift fitting for royalty – suitable for the Jewish king. The magi’s first stop was the palaces of king Herod. After all, it went without saying that that the ‘obvious’ place for a king to be born was in the royal rooms of princes’ palaces, the chambers of the chivalrous champions of combat – the presence of the gallant, the noble, the prestigious. Of course, we know that in the case of this King, it was not to be.
There was no fresh, soft linen-lined crib. He needed to be content with swaddling, hessian sacks. There was no thick pile carpet to tickle his tiny toes. Straw-strewn, dung-covered floors had to suffice. No soft, serene music filling the lounge air. The lowing of cows and the bleating of sheep was all that the Saviour had to “serenade” Him to sleep.
You see, unbeknownst to the Magi, this King was no ordinary king. This king was the one at whose name the kings of the world would (and will) bow. This King was (and is) the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords.
This King was a Servant-king. While other kings lorded it over their subjects, and demanded to be revered, this King came not to be served but to serve.
Even though the stars and galaxies are subject to this King, even though His name is the theme of seraphic songs and angelic anthems, He chose…that’s right chose… to be “found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8).
Earthly kings vied for and vexed about power and might, went to battle to prove it and to attain it – this King, although all powerful and almighty, emptied himself of divine ‘privilege’. He went to battle against the forces of death, hell and the grave not to prove how strong He was; not on His own behalf but on behalf of sinners like you and me, who had no strength of our own, who could not save ourselves, who were slaves to sin and dead in our trespasses. That’s right, Friend, the King of glory, went to bat for undeserving you and undeserving me by dying a death He did not deserve in order that we could have life!
Gold, the metal of kings and for kings was a gift most fitting for this King, however fitting in its symbolism only.
This gold would not be used to encase this King’s throne – the only earthly throne He’d be placed on would be an old rugged cross!
The gold would not be used to form or fashion a crown for this King’s head – no, the only crown He’d wear would be a crown of thorns pressed deeply into his brow!
Was this King deserving of the gold that testified to His divine royalty? Absolutely!
Was this King deserving of the gold that pointed to His status as King of all kings? Absolutely!
Was this King worthy of the gold that would be the same as that which lines the streets of the Heavenly home that He has now gone to prepare for His followers and upon which we will oneday walk with Him, away from the cares and toils of this life? Absolutely!
Friend, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have gold to offer my Saviour this Christmas. But, based on what I know about Him, He would value something much more than silver or gold. I suggest today, that this Christmas, the most valuable gift you and I can give the One Who has given His all, is our hearts, our lives, our all.
The invitation is extended? What is your response.
Gold and silver I have not much of,
Money to give is limited to some degree;
But that which I have is yours, Dear Lord,
My heart, my life, my all on bended knee.