What the Gifts of the Magi Tell Us about Jesus
The journey of the Magi to adore Jesus is commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany. It symbolizes the arrival of Jesus to all people — Gentiles and Jews alike – in one body. The Magi, who had traveled from afar to adore the Christ Child, had seen a star and decided to come. It was they who gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh – each of which reveals something about Jesus’ true nature to us.
What the Bible Tells Us about the Magi
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” According to the biblical account: We caught a glimpse of his growing star and have come to pay our respects to him.” Following their meeting with the king, they set out on their journey. When they got there, they noticed that the star that they had seen at its rise had preceded them all the way to the spot where the youngster was hiding.
They bowed their heads in reverence and paid him tribute.
And, after receiving a warning in a dream not to return to Herod, they decided to take a different route back to their homeland.
Gold – the Kingship of Jesus
The magi’s gifts were more than just a show of riches; they also had a deeper significance. Jesus’ reign is symbolized by the gold. As Daniel 7:13-14 states: “As the visions during the night progressed, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven,” I saw coming with the clouds of heaven. One who resembles a son of man. When he arrived before the Ancient of Days and was introduced to him, he was bestowed with dominion, glory, and kingship; all countries, peoples, and tongues will be devoted to his service.
The Magi saw that Jesus’ reign extended beyond all earthly rulers, and they came to adore him as a result of their recognition.
Frankincense – the Deity of Jesus
The frankincense is a symbol of Jesus’ divinity. As a gift to God, frankincense was typically burnt in the temple throughout the time of the Old Testament (Leviticus 2:2). By presenting this gift, the Magi demonstrated that Jesus is more than just a normal man; he is totally human and fully divine. Because, as it says in Colossians 2:9-10, “in him dwells all the fullness of the deity bodily,” and you participate in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power, you are part of the god.
Myrrh – the Death of Jesus
The present of myrrh, which is commonly used to embalm bodies, foreshadows the death of Jesus. We learn from John 19:38-40 that Nicodemus took myrh to the tomb of Jesus. Following this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was secretly a disciple of Jesus out of fear of the Jews, petitioned Pilate to allow him to take the body of Jesus from the tomb. And Pilate gave his approval. As a result, he arrived and seized his body. Nicodemus, the man who had initially approached him in the middle of the night, returned the next day with a combination of myrrh and aloes weighing around one hundred pounds.
The complete story of Jesus’ arrival is presented in this manner. So that we can be saved, Jesus was born into this world. We have eternal life as a result of Jesus’ death on the cross.
The Magi’s Gifts: Pointing to the Ultimate Gift
The gifts of the Magi shed light on the various facets of Christ’s personae and mission. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and in his great generosity, he died in order that we could live. As the Magi aggressively sought Jesus, so too should we follow Christ without hesitation, allowing him to serve as our guiding star as we go through life. When it comes to knowing where Jesus was born, like the scribes did, it is not enough if we do not go to the place where he was born.
- When his location becomes our place, when his time becomes our time, when his person becomes our life, then the predictions come to fruition in us and we become the fulfillment of them.
- For me, he takes on the nature of a living God.
- They do not engage in dispute; instead, they proceed.
- They do not place themselves as the focus of attention, but instead bow down before the One who is the center of attention.
Who were the three kings in the Christmas story?
As part of our examination of the history of the Bible and the hunt for sacred books, National Geographic analyzes important biblical people in our ongoing seriesPeople in the Bible. Many Christmas songs make mention of the three kings, who go to Bethlehem in the company of a star to pay their respects to the newborn Jesus. In the Bible, they are not referred to as kings, nor is their number given; rather, they are referred to as “wise men from the East.” The art of magic was performed by knowledgeable astrologers in several courts in the east, including ancient Babylon and Persia.
As a result of this interpretation, the three magi have come to be known as kings.
The magi bowed down to the newborn Jesus and “presented him with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh,” according to the Bible.
Understand the distinctions betweenArabian Camels and Bactrian Camels.) When King Herod heard reports of the birth of a new “king,” he became envious and went in search of the child.
Building a backstory
Later versions of the narrative named the magi by their given names as well as their respective countries of origin: Melchior was from Persia, Gaspar (also known as “Caspar” or “Jaspar”) was from India, and Balthazar was originally from Arabia. Their gifts also had unique symbolic significance: gold reflected Jesus’ title as “King of the Jews,” frankincense represented the infant’s divinity and identification as the Son of God, and myrrh alluded to the infant’s death. In this article, we’ll look at what archaeology has to say regarding the historical Jesus.
It is known as Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, and it is the formal commemoration of the advent of the Magi.
Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 by Roman Catholics, while it is celebrated on January 19 by Orthodox Christian sects.
Why Did the Wise Men Bring Gifts to Jesus?
The biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth tells of three wise men journeying a long way from the east to offer gifts to the infant Christ child at Bethlehem. When giving gifts to a tiny child, what is the motivation behind it? Who did these gentlemen suppose they were paying homage to?
The Bible does not specify the precise number of wise men that came to see Jesus at His birth in a manger, and they were not present at His birth in a manger, as is commonly represented in nativity scenes every December. Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign of Herod the Great, behold, wise men from the East traveled to Jerusalem to pay homage to the newborn king. 11 When they entered the house, they were amazed to see the little Child with Mary, His mother, and they immediately dropped on their knees and worshiped Him.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV).
“Now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of Herod the Great, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem to worship him.” When they entered the house, they were amazed to see the little Child with Mary, His mother, and they immediately dropped on their knees and worshiped Him.
There are many others.
Read some of these eye-opening evaluations of frequently held traditions to have a better understanding of them.
What prompted these gentlemen to believe it was suitable to make a presentation? What were they looking for, and why had they traveled such a long distance to find him? The answer exposes an often-overlooked fact about the Son of God that is worth considering.
Gifts fit for a king
2. “Where has He gone who was born King of the Jews?” they inquired. It is for this reason that we have come to worship Him after having seen His star in the East.” The New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982 by Thomas Nelson”>Matthew 2:2 informs us that the wise men came in search of a king. The New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982 by Thomas Nelson”> When they were asked where they could locate the Savior of mankind, they didn’t say anything.
- Because of the Christian tradition’s 2,000-year history, the majority of people now conceive of Jesus only in terms of being the one who “takes away the sin of the world” (29).
- The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
- Of course, He went ahead and did it.
- However, there is another position that Christ will play that is sometimes ignored, but one that is consistently stressed in the Gospels: that of a governing monarch over a kingdom of nations.
- Luke 1:32 New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982 by Thomas Nelson”>The Holy Bible, New King James Version”>Luke 1:32.
- In fact, this was exactly what the followers of Jesus were expecting (21 ).
- Indeed, on top of everything else, today marks the third day since these events occurred.
- Consequently, after they had gathered, they approached Him and asked: “Lord, would You return the kingdom to Israel at this time?” He replied affirmatively.
- New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982 by Thomas Nelson”>The Holy Bible, New King James Version”>Acts 1:6).
Looking for the Messiah …
The Jews had been looking forward to the arrival of the Messiah for a long time. He would be a descendant of David, and he would bring in the predicted age of restored grandeur in a new kingdom (6:1). It is because of this that we have a Child, that we have been given a Son, and that the government will rest on His shoulders. And His name will be Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace, among other titles. The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV).
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV) “Isaiah 11:2 and 13 are two of the most important verses in the Bible.
He arrived at the Temple of the Ancient of Days, and the priests drew Him close to Him.
His dominion is an immortal dominion that will never be destroyed, and his kingdom is a kingdom that will never be destroyed as long as the earth exists.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV) “Matt. 21:4-5 (King James Version).
The Son of God
Only a few people today realize that when a first-century Jew heard the term “son of God,” he was more likely to think of worldly rulership and divine appointment than of a position in the heavenly hierarchy. Biblically, the term “son of God” can refer to any exclusive relationship with God (the angels are referred to as “sons of God” in 6). There came a time when the sons of God gathered to show themselves before the Lord, and Satan was there among them. The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV).
Afterwards, you are to inform Pharaoh that the Lord has said, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.” The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV) “(See Exodus 4:22.) However, the phrase had a greater significance in the context of the Messiah, who was the descendant of David.
- In the name of the Lord, I will proclaim the decree: You are My Son, and today I have begotten You, says the Lord to me.
- “Psalm 2:7 is a verse from the Bible.
- I will establish your offspring after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his dominion after your days are completed and you have gone to rest with your fathers.
- 14 In this relationship, I will be his Father, and he will be My son.
- 15 But My kindness will not be taken away from him, as it was taken away from Saul, whom I withdrew from the scene before you.
- It is said, ‘Your throne shall be maintained for all time.'” New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version, published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson “(See also 2 Samuel 7:12-16).
- When David his father died, Solomon succeeded him as king on God’s throne, and all of Israel bowed their heads in submission to him.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV) “(See 1 Chronicles 29:23.) At some point, fulfilling this position would be considered a beautiful messianic function.
And, in a kingly or messianic sense, He was the ultimate Son of God—the One who was divinely chosen to be the heir to David’s throne—as well as the ultimate Son of Man.
You are the King of Israel!” says Nathaniel in verse 49.
You are the King of Israel!” says Nathaniel in verse 49.
You are the King of Israel!” exclaimed the crowd in awe.
It appears that the phrases were synonymous in his mind. He grew to think that Jesus was the predicted son of David for whom Israel had been waiting; the One who was destined to restore the majesty of David’s (God’s) earthly throne to its former splendor.
Born—King of the Jews
The Jews already had a monarch at the time of Christ’s birth, and his name was Herod. He reigned as a vassal under the authority of the Romans, yet he was recognized as a king nonetheless. What did the three wise men say when they arrived in search of Jesus? “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?” says the prophet. In the days of Herod the king, following Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem of Judea, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” It is for this reason that we have come to worship Him after having seen His star in the East.” The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV).
The Bible says (Matthew 2:11-14).
Herod, completely disregarding any spiritual implications of Christ’s birth, recognized the threat to his own throne and attempted to kill Jesus, but was unsuccessful (12 Then, after being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they left for their own country in a different way).
- 14 When he arose, he took the small Child and His mother by night and fled to Egypt, 15 where he remained until the death of Herod, in order that the words declared by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I summoned My Son,” could be fulfilled.
- He dispatched an army and executed all of the male children who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding districts who were two years old or younger, in accordance with the time that he had determined from the wise men, according to their estimates.
- While interrogating Jesus at His mock trial, the high priest said, “I swore on the altar of the living God that You are the Christ, the Son of God: Tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God!” (63 But Jesus remained deafeningly silent.
- His interrogation by the high priest was most likely not about His divinity, but rather about how He could be charged with treason for saying that He was Israel’s king, the Messiah (67).
- 68 And if I ask you a question, you will by no means respond or allow Me to go.
- The high priest then informed Pilate that Jesus had claimed to be a king (2 Corinthians 11:1).
- It was he who responded, saying, “It is as you say.” New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982 by Thomas Nelson”>Luke 23:2-3).
33 Afterwards, Pilate reentered the Praetorium, summoned Jesus, and asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Pilate then exited the Praetorium.
“Hail, King of the Jews!” they cried out at that point.
14 There were six hours left till it was Passover Preparation Day, and it was the sixth hour.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and contains the following verses: John 19:3, 14).
In addition, the soldiers placed a crown of thorns on His head, and they dressed Him in a purple robe, which they twisted themselves.
The writing on the wall read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE.
New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version 1982 by Thomas Nelson”>John 19:2, 19). New King James Version (NKJV) When viewed from a Roman and Jewish viewpoint, the whole context of Jesus’ death revolved around His claim to be a king of Israel rather than a Savior of mankind.
Christ’s Kingdom still to come
Humans can be reconciled to God, have their sins forgiven, and finally be allowed eternal life in the Kingdom of God because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as our Savior. His arrival on our planet, however, was as the King of that Kingdom—theKing of Kings and Lord of Lordswho would reign on this planet during the approaching millennium. Christ will reign over the nations from Jerusalem, on the throne of David that has been restored (32 He will be renowned, and he will be known as the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will grant Him the throne of David, which he will sit on.
And there were thunderous voices in heaven proclaiming, “The kingdoms of this world have been transformed into the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever!” The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) was published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson and is known as the New King James Version (NKJV) “Revelation 11:15 (New International Version).
You may discover more about this wonderful Kingdom of God and how God is preparing individuals to rule with Christ at that time by reading the enlightening writings on these themes that can be found here on this website.
What Is the Significance of the Three Wise Men and Their Gifts?
A church service might easily be dismissed as merely another location to “get” something in our consumerist society in the United States of America. Moreover, this frame of mind is not surprising, considering that church facilities and worship services are well-known for providing refreshments, free childcare, beautiful music, positive messages, and much more in a climate-controlled, safe, and aesthetically attractive setting. There is nothing wrong with delicious coffee, children’s ministries, music, and everything else; yet, if we are not cautious, we can end up thinking of ourselves as consumers in our spiritual lives, rather than going to God with our offerings of worship and “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15).
- Following the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, many Magi journeyed to visit him, each of whom followed a different star or light in the sky.
- They were a special class of priests who had been around for a very long time (Daniel 5).
- During Daniel’s time in charge of these Magi, it is extremely plausible that he instructed them about the prophesies concerning the future Messiah (such as inNumbers 24:17andMicah 5:2).
- Their education and authority allowed them to function as political consultants and even “king-makers” — which is an odd link to draw given that the Book of Matthew (in which Jesus is presented as the true king in the line of Judah) is the only gospel narrative that cites this incident.
- “They rejoic[ed] greatly with great pleasure” when they eventually arrived at the house where the Christ Child was residing, and they “went down on their faces before Jesus and Mary and worshipped him” (an appropriate reaction to being in the presence of the King of Kings).
These were not just any old presents that they happened to have sitting around; each one was meaningful at the time it was given and continues to hold great significance for us now.
What Was the Significance of Each of the Magi’s Gifts?
The hue and sheen of gold have made it a valuable precious metal throughout history, and it has been used to make jewelry, decorations, coinage, and idols. 2. Frankincense is a pricey aroma or perfume that is derived from plants found in India and Saudi Arabia. 3. Myrrhis is a unique type of expensive perfume manufactured from rare thorn plants in Arabia and Ethiopia that is used as an antiseptic anointing oil and embalming fluid, as well as an antiseptic anointing oil. While these gifts would have been unusual and expensive for the Magi to send to Jesus’ family in first-century Palestine, they were not unheard of in the ancient world.
- They “honored the King.
- In a similar vein, the fact that these gifts were pricey indicated the depth of their selfless love and devotion for the newborn King.
- The Magi did not spend their gifts on anything; instead, they were praising one another.
- is not the hope of becoming wealthy via your service to others.
- So, in order to enjoy you more, rather than things, I am intensifying and demonstrating this desire by giving up things in the intention of enjoying you more rather than things.
- God, on the other hand, makes it very plain in his word that he does not require anything that we have to offer.
As the apostles preached in the Book of Acts: “The God who created the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples built by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he required anything, because he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” The God who created the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples built by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though Moreover, he created from a single man every country of people to live on every continent of the planet, having defined allotted periods and the bounds of their living place, in order that they may seek God and, if they were lucky, discover him.
Even yet, Jesus is genuinely very close to everyone of us, for “in him we live, move, and have our being” (John 10:10). (Acts 17:24-28, ESV).
What Is the Deeper Spiritual Meaning Behind These Gifts?
The ancient church believed that the three sorts of gifts clearly symbolized three fundamental characteristics of Christ’s personality, and therefore they were divided into three categories. In this case, the gold represents Jesus’ monarchy, the frankincense represents his divinity, and the myrrh represents his humanity. As a matter of fact, some have argued that the Magi “preached” the gospel in a concrete sense through the gifts they bestowed upon the infant Jesus. Whether they realized it or not, their presents represented the tale of God himself, who descended from Heaven in the form of our King (gold) to perform his priestly responsibilities (frankincense) and finally die for our sins (frankincense) (myrrh).
At the beginning of Jesus’ life, as well as at the conclusion of his life, when he was hanging on the cross (Mark 15:23) and subsequently being buried in the tomb, this element was given to him here (John 19:39).
And, as a result of his resurrection, we have the opportunity to have eternal life.
First and foremost, we must understand that the central message of the Magi tale, gift-giving, and the remainder of the Christmas (or Advent) holiday is that Jesus Christ came to earth to die in order to provide salvation for sinners — meaning people like you and me — who have fallen away from God (1 Timothy 1:15;Luke 19:10).
- Second, just as the Three Wise Men replied to the heavenly light above them by going to Jesus and worshipping him, the Christmas season calls on all of us to respond to Jesus in one way or another during this season of giving.
- This is due to the fact that Christmas provides us with the gospel, and the gospel demands that we respond to it.
- We must, however, make a decision about what we will worship.
- When we bow our hearts to him and put our precious “gifts” in front of him, we are expressing that he alone can fulfill our hearts, and this is because Jesus is the one true King.
- Whoever goes in search of him will find him every time.” iStock/Getty Images Plus/Gama5 are credited with this image.
- The couple has been married since 2008 and have three children, Brooklyn, Bryson, and Abram.
- After completing his undergraduate studies at North Greenville University in South Carolina, Robert went on to complete his Masters at Liberty University in Virginia.
- He has worked in a number of roles including worship pastor, youth pastor, family pastor, church planter, and presently Pastor of Worship and Discipleship at Cheraw First Baptist Church.
To serve God and His Church, he has set himself a life purpose of reaching the unreached with the gospel, discipling and inspiring others to go even farther in their spiritual journeys, and establishing a culture of multiplication for the glory of God. More information on him may be found here.
The Christmas Story – All About The Wise Men
The arrival of the Three Wise Men; trips, political intrigue, and not a stable in sight.
The Story in the Bible
“Where is he who is born King of the Jews?” they inquired after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during Herod the king’s reign. Look, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem to inquire. Because we saw his star in the east and have came to adore him,” says the author. And when King Herod learned of it, he was concerned, as was the entire city of Jerusalem. And after collecting all of the top priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them as to where the Messiah would be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea, for it is stated via the prophet, ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come out a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel,'” they explained.
- When they arrived in Bethlehem, he told them to go and look for the tiny boy with diligence, and when they found him to bring me news so that I too might come and adore him.
- And when they saw the star, they were filled with a tremendous amount of happiness.
- They then presented him with presents, which included gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which they had opened from their riches.
- Matthew 2:12 – 12:12
The History behind the Three Kings/Wise Men/Magi in the Christmas Story
Wise Men traveled to find Jesus after His birth, most likely from a territory that is now either Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Yemen, or from an area that is now southern Turkey and northern Syria, to seek for Him after His birth. Despite the fact that they are commonly referred to as the “Three Kings,” the Bible does not specify how many there were or that they were kings. One possibility is that they were the Kings of Yemen, which would make sense given that the Kings of Yemen were Jews at the period.
- They were, without a doubt, guys of considerable intellect.
- ‘ Magos is derived from the ancient Persian term ‘Magupati,’ which means “magupati’s throne.” A priest of a sect of ancient Persian faiths such as Zoroastrianism was known by this title, which was awarded to him by his peers.
- In those days, both astronomy and astrology were considered to be part of the same overarching study (and’science,’ as it were), and they went hand in hand with one another.
- They would have also been extremely wealthy and well-regarded in their own community as well as by individuals from other countries and religions who did not share their beliefs.
- The origin of the new star in the sky is still a mystery, and there are several possibilities, including comets, supernovae, planets colliding, and even something supernatural!
- The Magi would have become familiar with the predictions of an unique Jewish Savior (also known as the Messiah) from their time as captives in ancient Babylon some hundred years before the birth of Jesus.
They have been the subject of legends, and they have been given names. They are frequently described in the following ways:
- He has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green robe with green gems on it. Gaspar (or Caspar) also has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) He is known as the “King of Sheba.” Gaspar represents the Frankincense that was given to Jesus, and Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold mantle, represents the frankincense that was presented to Jesus. He is known as the “King of Arabia.” Melchior represents the gold that was presented to Jesus, while Balthazar, who has dark complexion, a black beard (or no beard!) and a purple cloak, depicts the silver that was brought to Jesus. He is the King of Tarsus/Macedonia as well as the King of Egypt. When Balthazar is presented before Jesus, he represents the gift of Myrrh that was delivered to Jesus.
Herod requested that the Wise Men locate Jesus and inform him of his whereabouts, not so that he might go and honor him as he had stated, but so that he could murder him! He interpreted Jesus’ words as if he were a new King who could come and usurp his position of authority. Because Jesus would have been between the ages of one and two when the Wise Men discovered them, it is likely that they were living in a typical dwelling, most likely in Bethlehem or Jerusalem, when the Wise Men discovered them.
Although the presents appear to be weird to give to a baby, Christians believe that they had the following symbolic meanings:
- Historically, gold has been connected with kings, and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings. Frankincense is a fragrant oil that is occasionally used in church services to indicate that people are willing to worship Jesus. It is a perfume that is applied to dead bodies in order to make them smell pleasant. According to Christian belief, it demonstrated that Jesus would suffer and die.
All of the presents are also from the Arabian Peninsula, which is located east of Israel. A dream forewarned the wise men that they should not go to Herod and inform him where Jesus was, preventing Herod from carrying out his heinous plot to kidnap and kill Jesus.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh: Why the Wise Men Brought These Gifts to the Newborn Jesus
In the twelve days following the birth of Jesus, three wise men journeyed thousands of miles to pay him a visit. They had brought with them the priceless gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which they were to present to the newly crowned king. Today, only gold appears to be a present worthy of the son of God, and that is a rarity. As a result, why did the wise men choose these three presents in particular? Among all the presents, gold stands out as the most conspicuous. It is just as precious today as it was in biblical times in terms of monetary value.
- It was a priceless medal that could only be obtained by persons who were as wealthy as kings.
- As an incense, frankincense is made from the sap of the same-named tree, which dries to form lumps of gum resin that are burned.
- Frankincense was thought to be a medical ingredient that could be used to treat a broad range of maladies, although it was most commonly used as an incense in ancient times.
- As one of the four components of the sacred incense burnt by Jewish priests in the Sanctuary, frankincense is referenced in the Bible’s Old Testament.
- It was also a fantastic present for the new king because of its high monetary worth.
- It is made from the sap of the myrrh tree, which is dried and turned into a gum resin, similar to frankincense.
- Ancient people used to burn myrrh in the apartments of the ill, which was a common practice.
- It was used on Jesus’ body after he died, a practice that was also used by the Hebrews and the ancient Egyptians, who employed it in embalming as well as other applications.
- Its flavor, on the other hand, was not particularly good.
- It might have also been a foreshadowing of his death.
Each of the three gifts presented by the three wise men represents a different aspect of Jesus’ life and divinity than the other. They all have a similar monetary worth since they are presents appropriate for a new monarch.
Here’s What History Can Tell Us About the Magi
Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25, but the tale of Christmas does not end there. In many Western Christian traditions, Christmas is celebrated over 12 days, with the feast of the Epiphany falling on January 6, the culmination of the season. Many people think that’s when the “Magi,” or “wise men,” or “three kings,” came to view the newborn infant Jesus for the first time. But were any of these individuals influenced by real-life historical figures? It is difficult to link their depictions to specific individuals, but their descriptions in the Gospel of Matthew, which are only a few sentences long, do correspond to current understandings of the world at the time the Gospel was written, which is thought to have occurred sometime between 70 CE and 85 CE.
Also absent from the record is any indication of the number of males in attendance.
Immediately after Jesus’ birth at the town of Bethlehem in Judea, which was then under the reign of the Roman King Herod, according to Matthew’s Gospel, “certain men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem and inquired, ‘Where is the infant born to be the king of the Jews?'” Our attention was drawn to his star as it rose in the East, and we have come to adore him.” They arrived at Jesus and Mary’s home after following the light of a star, and they brought presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh to them, as described in the Gospel.
Gold was then, as it is now, a symbol of riches and power.
According to Kristin Swenson, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of the forthcomingA Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible, myrrh is a “outlier” in the Bible.
Swenson explains that Jesus is served wine with myrrh before his crucifixion because it is a painkiller in Mark 15:23, and this is because myrrh is a natural analgesic.
It is clear from the lavish presents that these Eastern guests are “people of immense money and power,” as Swenson puts it, since they “bring things that are kind of evident based on the things they bring.” “They are referred to as Magi in Greek, which was a title that referred to a category of Persian priests at the time of the Greek invasion.
“Their orientation was considerably more in the direction of what we would today characterize as scientific.” Looking to a star is “very much in keeping with the religious tradition of this place at the time of looking to the heavens, the stars, and the planets for information about the gods’ wishes and doings, and some stars or planets were identified with God.” Looking to a star is “very much in keeping with the religious tradition of this place at the time of looking to the heavens, the stars, and the planets for information about the gods’ wishes and doings” The author of the Gospel of Matthew also points out that the Gospel of Matthew portrays a prophecy from hundreds of years earlier, found in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, in which the nations of the world recognize Israel as the light of the world and celebrate this recognition with gifts of gold, frankincense, and other valuable gifts.
TIME magazine’s cover article “Secrets of the Nativity,” published on December 13, 2004, highlighted decades of efforts to make sense of the Magi, as well as the numerous futile searches for tangible proof of the nativity scene: After all, from whence exactly in the Orient (which literally translates as “East”) were they coming from?
- It is possible that the presents they carried–gold, frankincense, and myrrh–were brought by camel trains from Arabia, as described in unrelated Bible accounts from Sheba and Midian, both of which are located on the peninsula.
- The most fortunate of all the guesses turned out to be the one made in the 4th century by the designers of the Church of the Nativity in Palestine, whose golden entrance mosaic showed the Magi clothed as Persians, who were also well-known stargazers at the time.
- The Magi enjoyed a long and fruitful postbiblical existence.
- Their number, which fluctuated from two to twelve in different tales, finally settled on three, most likely as a result of their three gifts.
- This is how a medieval Irish account of the guy described him: “The first is supposed to have been.
- beardless and ruddy-complexioned.
- Researchers have speculated that the combination was either intended to emphasize Christianity’s global ambitions or pointed back to an earlier varied threesome, Noah’s sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, as a point of reference.
Melchior died on January 1st, at the age of 116; St.
Gaspar died on January 11th, at the age of 109.” Many modern Christmas customs depict these three wise men in a way that is influenced by medieval art.
In popular imagination, paintings by painters such as Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens, and Hieronymus Bosch (as seen above) contributed to solidifying the idea of the Magi as a varied bunch of men.
in 1857, is perhaps the most famous musical depiction of the three men.
And, just as interpretations of the Magi evolved over time in response to events in the world, so too will current events influence how individuals find meaning in the Bible in order to make sense of their own lives.
While doing so, it is critical to remember and acknowledge that we are reimagining for our times texts that, in some cases, defy our expectations, at times confound us with contradictions, and, unless we read them in their ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek originals, rely on translations that are themselves interpreted.” TIME Magazine has more must-read stories.
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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at the following address: [email protected].
Why Were Gold, Incense, and Myrrh Appropriate Gifts for Jesus?
Then, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and inquired as to the whereabouts of the child who had been born king of the Jews. As a result, we have come to revere him since we witnessed his star as it rose.’ In the midst of their adoration, they discovered the infant with Mary his mother, and they dropped on their knees and worshipped him. Then, when they opened their riches, they presented him with presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:1–2; Matthew 2:1–11) We know very little about the wise men based on the biblical narrative.
- “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” as the song goes, is sung.
- That they were kings, or even when they landed in Bethlehem, is not revealed in the Bible.
- That very little information is provided on the wise men certainly indicates that Matthew’s attention was not drawn to the wise men themselves as a subject of study.
- A literary critic would pay particular attention to the presents since they appear at the conclusion of the story after the kid has been discovered and so occupy a prominent position in the narrative.
It is simple to see why gold is a suitable present for the Lord Jesus Christ. Gold is considered to be the metal of kings. When Jesus was given with gold, it was an acknowledgement of his authority to govern. The wise men were aware that Jesus was the King of kings and that he was the Messiah. When Jesus was given with gold, it was an acknowledgement of his authority to govern.
Incense was also given as a thoughtful gift. It was employed in the temple’s religious ceremonies. It was used in conjunction with the oil that was used to anoint the priests of the nation of Israel. It was included in the meal offerings, which were intended to be expressions of gratitude and worship to God. They did so in order to draw attention to Christ as our great High Priest, the one whose entire life had been acceptable and well pleased to his Father.
Myrrh was traditionally used in embalming. By any human standard, it would be strange, if not disrespectful, to give an embalming spice to a child who is supposed to be the Savior. However, it was neither offensive nor out of the ordinary in this instance.
It was a gift of faith on my part. We do not know what the wise men may have known or suspected about Christ’s career, but we do know that the Old Testament prophesied of his suffering on several occasions, and we believe that they did.
What Gifts Do You Offer?
There is a sense in which we, too, may offer our gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh on the basis of our faith. Make a start with your myrrh. Aside from representing Christ’s death, myrrh represents the spiritual death that should befall you as a result of your transgression against the law. “Lord Jesus Christ, I recognize that I am less perfect than you are and that I am a sinner,” you should say as you lay it at Christ’s feet. As a result of my transgression, I am aware that I will be permanently banished from your presence, and I accept this responsibility.
- That is what I believe.
- According to the Bible, there is no good in man that is not tainted by evil.
- Finally, bring your gold with you.
- As a result, by bringing your gold, you are acknowledging Christ’s authority over your life.
Provide direction and guidance in my life so that I may mature spiritually and be able to appreciate and serve you as you deserve.” If you have gone to the altar believing in everything that the myrrh, incense, and gold represent, you have begun a journey that will bring you enormous spiritual delight and happiness.
They are the only things we have to offer to the one who has given us everything through his love and mercy.
From 1982 until 2000, JAMES MONTGOMERY BOICE served as senior minister of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church and as an outspoken advocate for the Reformed religion.
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