The Four Gifts of the Wise Men

The Wise Men traveled over a thousand miles to bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child. In doing so they evidenced characteristics becoming of all. They were warm-hearted and worshipful.

Scripture assigns more than one use and symbolism to each of the items. Origen, who died in A.D. 251, was the first writer to prescribe specific symbolism to each. He said the Magi brought “gold, as to a king; myrrh, as to one who was mortal; and incense, as to God.”

Frankincense, literally means “pure incense.” It comes from  a Boswellia tree grown in limestone rocks in South Arabia and Somalia. An incision was made in the bark of the tree and the white sap formed the frankincense.

Myrrh comes from the odoriferous Balsamodendron tree of Arabia. It was used as a perfume, an anesthetic, and also anointing the dead. This gift associated with death may have caused the brow of the maiden mother to furrow at the reflective thought of the message spoken by the angel regarding a sword that would pierce her heart.

The recipient of these gifts was of inestimable merit to the Wise Men who undertook their arduous journey to pay homage to the Christ child.

The Lord gave the Wise Men guidance to find the Christ child. Incidentally, their coming may well have been as much as three years after His birth.  There is a Greek word for “baby” or “infant,” brephos, and one for “young child” or “toddler,” paidion. The latter is used here. Notice how it is translated in verse 9, “…where the young Child was.”

They considered His presence worthy of their presents.

Of the gifts offered, the fourth is most often overlooked. It was their worship. In Jerusalem the wise men had expressed to Herod the purpose of their mission, acknowledging they had “come to worship Him.” Conjecture regarding the nature of the star and absorption with the three material gifts often causes their real objective to be obscured. They left their homes, braved the desert, and endured the fatigue for this moment of worship. Doubtless it remained an immortal moment locked in the treasury of their memory bank.

Not all can give the three uncommon gifts normally referenced, however all can give Him worship. Those who give Him worship have no difficulty giving their substance.

Their form of worship is a needed additive in today’s style of worship. Their falling down indicates contrition and submission. It is an admirable attitude involved in worship regardless of one’s posture. A sense of divine wonder and awe must have prevailed as they knelt. It should be a jewel in our worship. Such had drawn them into the vestibule of His presence. The Hebrew word for “to worship,” when translated, literally means “to bow to.” In bowing to the Christ child they were bowing to the will of the Father. When we truly worship Him we are bowing to the plan that God has for us. Worship must be Christocentric, not self-centered. These star-guided men first opened their hearts to Him before they opened their treasures. Their awareness of who awaited them beneath that natal gem, the star over Bethlehem, drew them to this moment. By no means could they fully understand what would unfold as a result of this birth. Their awareness that this was a heaven sent gift motivated them. The sequence of their action involved seeing, falling down in worship, and then giving gifts.

Their journey rewarded them with the knowledge that – – – –

“Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh….”  (I Timothy 3:16).

Now you can give Him a replica of the fourth gift, daily worship.