The Wise Men’s Three Gifts

Matthew 2:9-12 says, “After listening to the King, they went on their way.  Behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him.  Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed another way.”

After being politically obligated to share with Herod when the star had risen, the wise men now set off again.  The same star they once saw rise, they now see moving south and coming to rest.  They went south, and where the star stopped they see a house.  The fact that it was a house they saw, and not the inn with no rooms available, means it took such a long time for the wise men to get from Babylon to Jerusalem that baby Jesus is now boy Jesus.  Going in to the house, they saw Him, and upon seeing Him they fell down and worshiped!  They recognize God has given mankind a gift in this boy King, and they rightly respond with gifts of their own. 

Gold because it is a King’s abundant and overflowing currency.  Nothing befits a King like fountains of gold to share with His people!  The resin Frankincense to acknowledge the presence of absolute divinity and the worship due to Him from all peoples and nations.  The other resin Myrrh to symbolize death, burial, foreshadowing that King Jesus will suffer death to usher in the Kingdom of God.  It is quite timely the wise men came the moment they did, for this little family (Joseph, Mary, Jesus) would soon have to travel another far distance – to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod when he seeks to kill the Christ by killing all boys under 2 in Bethlehem.  I say it’s timely because this family probably used and survived solely on these three gifts until they arrived at Egypt.  We see God caring for His Son here, protecting Him from Herod, providing Him with all He needs.  The same is true for us. 

The same is true for the wise men also.  We read in 2:12 that God warns the wise men in a dream to not return to Herod, but to return to Babylon on a different road.  So off they went – Happy to have beheld the Christ, safe with new directions from our Father.

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