The wise still seek Him and give Him their best.

Our gifting can learn from the Magi every day of the year.

 

When Matthew records that the Magi gave from their treasures, including gold, frankincense and myrrh, he invites the question:

Why are these gifts mentioned in particular?

 

 

Careful study reveals five answers:

 

1.    These gifts came from their locations in the east, including eastern Africa, Arabia, and Asia.

 

2.    These gifts were intensely useful for Joseph, Mary and Jesus in their circumstance, including the unexpected need to escape to Egypt that very evening!

 

3.    These three gifts dramatically represent three main roles in the special life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus.

 

4.    These three gifts exemplify the kinds of gifts we should now bring to the Lord Jesus Christ and his purposes.

 

5.    These three gifts are especially well embodied in the act of giving ourselves, since we people are the most treasured creation of God, we are his sweet aroma, and we can represent his redeeming presence everywhere.

 

 

Gifts for JESUS:

Treasures (Greek: thesaurus)

Matthew 2:11

Practical

Useful in their time and situation:

Valued Gifts

Proper

Deeply honoring Jesus in his three main roles:

Our Worship

Present

Gifts for Jesus, in our time:

Our Best.

Precious

Gifts that God especially desires: Ourselves

q  Gold

q  Mined in many locations

q  Always handy

q  Money is the main gift request from children

q  Joseph and Mary were probably a poor family

q  Probably very useful that very night for expenses of the escape to Egypt.

KING

q  He who has the gold rules. [The real Golden Rule???]

q  Of course, God is not short of cash

q  Kuyper: God owns every cubic cm. of the universe.

q  King can get gold

q  Gold has value only between people--only relational value.

q  God has given all we have and are.

q  God wants us to release all resources and relationships for Him.

q  We are to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. (Matthew 22:37)

q  God desires our gift to him of all our “TREASURES.”

q  Generosity – church, family, community, and other people.

q  Giving of ourselves, the most unique and precious creation of God. (Romans 12:1,2)

q  Offering ourselves as the Spirit’s walking temples. (I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)

v  Frankincense

v  A processed resin from a tree that grew especially in India.

v  Sweet smelling – in stable or diaper environments

v  Precious… could sell / exchange

v  Magi may have been dealers

v  It was a kind of currency – useful also in the escape to Egypt.

v  Symbol of prayers –

v  Multitude prays at the hour of incense as angel appears next to incense in Luke 1:10,11, the location where John the Baptist’s father prayed, as a priest.

PRIEST

v  Frankincense was a central part of Hebrew sanctuary

v  Part of sacred mix for defining the place of meeting God (Ex. 30:34-38)

v  24 Elders’ bowls of frankincense are the prayers of the saints and added by angels. (Rev. 5:8, and 8:3)

v  Repeatedly a symbol of the presence of God (Mal.1:11)

v  Luke 1:10,11: the hour and place of prayer

v  Sweet aroma (lit. & fig.) creates and builds relationships.

v  We receive it from God. (grace & truth)

v  We give back to God the sweet aroma of the presence of Christ in us (II Cor. 2:14-17)

v  Christian = one who makes it easier for others to become Christians

v  God desires the sweet gifts of our TIME and TALENTS.

v  “Everywhere you are the sweet fragrance of Christ to God,” even if unbelievers misunderstand (II Corinthians 2:14-17)

v  “To God,” regardless of what others think.

v  Grace and Truth: the unique combined marks of Jesus Christ (John 1:14-16)

v  Christian = one who makes it easier for others to become Christian.

ü  Myrrh

ü  Gum from a tree found in Africa and Arabia.

ü  Cuts are made in branches; the gum collects like tears.

ü  First mentioned in Gen. 37:25, where Joseph’s brothers sold him to myrrh traders from Gilead (now in Jordon)

ü  Healing agent.

ü  The First Aid in the ancient world.

ü  It both reduced pain and increased healing

ü  It was put in the wine that Jesus refused at the cross.  He chose our pain. Mark 15:23

ü  Embalming material (Nicodemus brought it for Jesus’ body in John 19:39)

PROPHET

ü  Part of sacred anointing oil in Ex 30:22-33

ü  Moses the prophet anointed the priests and the instruments of worship.

ü  Prophets played the key anointing role. E.g. Samuel anointed Saul and David

ü  Redemptive words and actions

ü  We have received God’s healing.  In His stripes we are healed.

ü  He wants us to give Him our pain—and help others to give their pains to Him, too.

ü  Give God our sin, guilt, despair, disappointments.

ü  For example, see Matthew 11:28-30 and II Cor. 5:16-21.

ü  God desires the gift of our TRAUMA.

ü  Give up to God all of ourselves, including sin, sorrow and soreness (physical & spiritual)—as well as our regretting and our anxieties.

ü  He wants these parts of our old selves as presents to Him.

ü  Present our bodies as living incarnations of Gospel (Good News!) in word and works.

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Paul de Vries, Ph.D., President of NYDS {phdevries@nydivinityschool.org, 646-395-0008}.

Every reproduction must include this ownership notice.  Thank you!