"Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11).
Yesterday, we paused to reflect to the first gift presented by the Magi – Gold, the precious metal that pointed to Jesus, the King!
Today, we pause for a few moments on the second man’s gift – Frankincense, an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes.
Now, gold pointed to the kingship of the Saviour. That we can understand because gold generally equates wealth and can be easily connected to royalty. But frankincense? Does this tie in prophetically at all with the Saviour’s office, or is it just a random gift? Well, the quick answer – not random at all!
Frankincense was associated with worship and pointed in general to the priestly office. In Christ’s case, little was it known to the wise men that this gift of frankincense was supporting the words spoken many years before in the messianic psalm:
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Pslam 110:4
Not only was the Babe in the manger to fulfil the role of King of all kings, but He too was the Great High Priest, the One Who “did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption”. Hebrews 9:12
Our High Priest “who sits at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us”. Romans 8:34
Two seemingly insignificant words in the aforementioned verse: “WHO SITS”
To understand the significance of those two words, we need to understand a little about the OT priesthood.
We read in Hebrews 10:11 -
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
In the Old Testament,
Priests would not sit down in the Tabernacle.
They stood to perform their work because their work was never done.
But then the writer to the Hebrews goes onto describe Jesus:
12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
Are you seeing what’s happening here friends?
The event of Jesus ascending and being seated at the right hand of the Father, signifies that His work is done. Nothing more can be added to what he did when he died on the cross and rose from the dead. Jesus Christ, our High Priest could sit down, because he had offered himself as the one sacrifice for sin forever.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.(Romans 8:34)
Friends, receive this encouragement: Jesus intercedes for you with the Father. The word “intercede” means to speak up on behalf of someone else.
We live in a world where countless people are oppressed, depressed and distressed.
Many are suffering in silence.
Praise God! For those as well as for you, who are finding yourself in a place where you feel no one cares or understands - Christ is now in heaven praying for you and for me.
What a marvellous thought this is.
When you are down in the dumps, Jesus prays for you!
When you falter under the load, Jesus prays for you!
When your faith gives way, Jesus prays for you!
When you can’t pray, when the words won’t come, Jesus prays for you!
These events in the life of Christ, of course, seemed so ‘far-removed’ from the scene when looking at the little helpless child visited by the Magi that day. However, just as we considered yesterday –
this King was no ordinary king;
this Child was no ordinary child.
This Priest would be no ordinary priest.
He’s the Son of man – yes. He needs to be otherwise he cannot identify with our earthly struggles – but He’s also the Son of God – He has to be otherwise His sacrifice would not have been enough!
The second wise man presented the Frankincense, an element connected to worship – relevant and appropriate to the office of the priesthood, relevant and appropriate for the Great High Priest, Who would stand in the gap between the Creator and the creature, mankind – and make an offering once and for all.
Friend, let’s worship Him today! He is worthy indeed!
May my worship, this Advent, be an offering,
Sweet-smelling, fragrant, pleasing to You;
That which I offer, be it by song, word