The Best Gift

Posted By on December 19, 2014

Gift woman

By: Min. Jeremy Hammonds

Matthew 2:1-2, 11 (NASB) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Thoughts and Reflections

As we draw closer to Christmas, let us focus on its true meaning. The gifts that we give and receive on Christmas are symbolic of the Greatest Gift ever given. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16) The Christmas season is a celebration of that fact; a celebration of Jesus Christ being born into the world to save us from our sins. Whether you are a Christian or not, when you give or receive a gift from someone you are participating in the symbolic commemoration of God’s gift to humanity in the personage of Jesus Christ.

The Magi were well aware of the prophecy that foretold the coming of the Messiah. They traveled a great distance from the east (some estimate as far as 765 miles or approximately a two-year journey) to worship Jesus. Some speculate that the Magi were wise men from Babylon, those who had encountered Daniel and his prophecies of the coming Messiah. The Magi, in general, were part scientist and part soothsayer. In fact, the word “Magi” is where we get the word magician. That being said, something miraculous had to have happened to change the Magi from spell casting alchemists into worshipers of the one true God.

The Magi came to Jesus bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. People automatically assume that since the Magi gave three gifts that there were only three Magi, although this may be the case, traditionally Magi in the east consisted of about twelve men (possibly prophetically pointing to the twelve disciples who would later follow Jesus). In any case, far more important than the number of Magi is the reason they came, and the gifts that they gave. Not because of the actual gifts themselves, rather that these gifts were an outward representation of an inward manifestation of the change that had happened in their heart long before they ever made the journey to see Jesus.

All three of the Magi’s gifts are gifts that would be given to a king. The gold symbolizes royalty, kingship, and wealth; the frankincense is used as incense, representing the sweet aroma of prayers to God, further representing priesthood and divinity; myrrh was used as a perfume or anointing oil, more specifically in the anointing of dead bodies. The gifts that the Magi gave recognize Jesus as king, high priest, and prophet, pointing to the fulfillment of prophecy that the One anointed by God, born of a Virgin, would die as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of all humanity.

Let us be like the Magi, forsaking all of our worldly ways, and come humble before God bearing gifts! The greatest gift that we could ever give Jesus is ourselves! We should live our entire life striving to be obedient to God, love our neighbor, and treat others, as we desire to be treated. Unlike the Magi, we do not have to travel far to meet Jesus. For Jesus is here now, waiting to have a relationship with you! If you are a Christian, I encourage you to honor God in everything that you do. If you are not a Christian, I invite you to accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart and then you shall be saved. So as you gather together with family and friends and give gifts this Christmas season, remember the Best Gift—Jesus the King, the High Priest, the Prophet and Savior!

The next Lesson will be on January 2nd, 2015

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