Gifts Of The Magi
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 NKJV
One of the most iconic images we associate with Christmas is that of the Magi, following the star to one who is the King of the Jews. We see them bowed before Jesus offering their gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh. You have likely already received at least one Christmas card this year with some imagery of the Magi and their gifts. We probably don’t stop to consider the gifts they present to Jesus, and there is real significance in those gifts.
We all understand and appreciate the value of gold but we really only know of frankincense and myrrh because of their mention in this passage of the Bible. Other than Christmas, when do you ever think of hear of either frankincense or myrrh? Yet they both have great value and meaning for the moment described in this verse.
Let’s first look at gold, that commodity we still treasure and value today. Gold was given to Jesus to represent the royalty of Jesus; He was and is he King of kings. At the name of Jesus every knee must bow. This is a reflection of His eternal office as the King of all. Gold is a gift fit for and proper for a king.
Frankincense is given to Jesus as token of His divinity. Frankincense was burned as incense with the offerings at the Temple. I was to represent the prayers of the people going up and being received as acceptable to the Lord. We are acceptable and our prayers are acceptable through Jesus Christ. Frankincense also represented Jesus as the High Priest for all believers, the intercessor between God and man. In the old covenant the Priests were the ones offering sacrifices for the people. Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for all.
The final gift we see the Magi bring to Jesus is the gift of myrrh. Myrrh represents the humanity of Jesus; myrrh is linked to the flesh. Jesus was God made flesh for us. Myrrh is our reminder that even in these carnal bodies we are tied to His perfection and to His promises forever. Myrrh actually means bitterness and it reflects the suffering Jesus would endure in this flesh for us.
Myrrh was also used in for the making of holy anointing oil to be used in the Temple and it further represents His humanity and His anointing. These gifts we see from the Magi each were of value and each represented who Jesus was and is. Gold told us He was the King of kings, myrrh that the King became flesh as a perfect sacrifice for our sins, and frankincense showed us the King made flesh was made an offering for us and stands as the eternal intercessor between God and man. What beautiful Gifts Jesus has provided us!
J Todd Hostetler