One of my proudest moments is teaching my little guy the story of the Wise Men. “What did they bring to baby Jesus?”, I would ask. He would respond with his toddler lisp and his chubby cheeks, “Gold, frankincense, and myrrh!” Sweetest thing ever!
It’s a familiar story that comes from Matthew, Chapter 2. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
They were sent by Herod and followed the star.
“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.”
Gifts for a King
The details of how many men, their names, or where they were from are not disclosed to us. But we do know what they brought gifts to lay at the feet of the newborn King.
Like everything else in God’s Word, these gifts are layered with meaning.
All of these gifts are precious, and fit for a king. Scholars believe the gold represents the kingship of Jesus. Frankincense may represent his role as priest, and myrrh his mortality.
As I was reading in Exodus where God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle, I noticed these gifts again. The Israelites surrendered the best of their possessions to be used in the Tabernacle.
Gold Plated Everything
“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it.”
“Make a table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it.”
Incense Scented with Frankincense
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.”
Myrrh Blended into the Anointing Oil
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: ...liquid myrrh...fragrant cinnamon...fragrant calamus...cassia...and olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.
The Temple in Human Form
The tabernacle or temple: a place where God meets with man, but where sacrifice must happen first.
And the fulfillment of the temple? Jesus Himself. The embodiment of sacrifice.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19
How fitting to bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Son of God and Son of Man?
To the one whose sacrifice would make Him a living temple.
To the only mediator between man and God, the fulfillment of every promise, and our only hope for redemption?
What Will You Bring the King?
So the question is, what will you bring Him this Christmas? In light of His life, His sacrifice, and His love for you, is there any gift too extravagant?