The Wise Men Brought Gifts (Matthew 2:1-2, 11)
Matthew 2:1-2, 11, “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, 2 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.”... 11 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” (NKJV).
How important is Jesus to you? Even before the ministry, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus “wise men from the East” demonstrated the value they placed upon Jesus by their actions at His birth (2:1). First of all, they were willing to travel a great distance to come and see the newborn Jesus. Because the gifts of the Magi are often found in abundant supply in Arabia it is thought these men came as far as Arabia to visit Jesus. Second, these “wise men” enter “the house” and instantly “fell down and worshiped Him” (2:11). Their homage was a signal of their respect for this newborn King. Yet, connected to their devotion they also brought an offering to Jesus. So, thirdly, the wise men “presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (2:11). The term “gifts” used in this passage is always connected to worship in the gospel of Matthew when it is used in seven different verses (Matthew 5:23, 24; 8:4; 15:5; 23:18-19). Our physical and financial gifts are an outpouring of our worship and our reverence to God.
The reasons Jesus was worthy of such worship by “the wise men” are indicated in the context. He was “the King of the Jews” born in the lowly city of Bethlehem from whom “The One to be Ruler in Israel” would come (Matthew 2:1-2, 5-6; cp. Micah 5:2). Thus, it was only right to bestow upon Jesus the gifts often reserved for royalty. The worship of “wilderness” men and their offerings of gifts and presents to the Messiah had been the subject of prophecy (Psalm 72:9-11; Isaiah 60:6). Because Jesus was “King of kings” He was worthy of the precious gold offered. Because Jesus is the “Son of God” He was worthy of offering sweet incense in the form of “frankincense” (cp. Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 16:12). Because Jesus was the “Lamb of God” who would be sacrificed for our sins He deserved the precious “myrrh” so often used in the embalming of bodies at death (cp. John 19:39). Each gift was not only a testament of the wise men’s devotion but an implication of the value and roles of Jesus! It is worthwhile to note the worship the “wise men” offered was not to Mary or Joseph, but directed towards “the young Child” and the gifts are “to Him” (2:11).
So, how important is Jesus to you? Is He worthy of making sacrifices and traveling so you might come together and worship Him? Is Jesus worthy of your most precious gifts as you make offerings to Him and to His spiritual family, the church? Do we give Him the best we have to offer as our King? How willing are you to give of your best to Jesus? Wise men came from afar and brought gifts. Wise men, today, still bring gifts to Jesus.