Grace & Truth Chapel
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"Treasures for the Lord" (posted December 1, 2006)

Wise men seek Jesus at Christmas When [the wise men] 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.
   - Matthew 2:11

Treasures opened for the Lord! This passage refers to the Magi, oriental wise men who, having discovered by the rising of a remarkable star that the Messiah had been born, came to Jerusalem to worship Him.

They were attracted by the renown of God's King, the Messiah born as King (Matthew 2:2). They came from afar to adore Him. The name "magi" was given by the Babylonians and others to wise men: teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams. The prophet Daniel had at one time been made their chief (Daniel 2:48). Of course, he did not engage in occult practices [as others might have done].

In contrast to these "wise men," the scribes and other Jewish leaders lived in Israel and knew exactly what was written in God's Word concerning the King who would come.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
      - Micah 5:2
Yet those leaders had no interest for Him.

Isn't it wonderful to note that the first thing "opened" in this gospel was opened to honor the Lord Jesus? Thus the Magi honored the Lord's greatness, as God's King, Priest, and Prophet.

This was expressed in the gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Magi acknowledged Christ's royal and divine glory, as expressed in the gold. They also presented a portion of that which was for God alone---the frankincense (compare Leviticus 2:2, 6:15).

Furthermore, the myrrh spoke of the path of Christ's sufferings (Mark 15:23; John 19:39) before He would return to glory. This last point was explained by the Lord Himself and is confirmed by many Scriptures, such as:

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?
      - Luke 24:26

...the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow.
      - 1 Peter 1:11

Alfred E. Bouter

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