And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Out of all the things to give the baby Messiah, the Magi brought these specific items. Why? Was the gold supposed to help out with funds for rearing the child? Since frankincense and myrrh both ingredients for incense, were they meant for perfume or something else?
If I meet the Magi in heaven, rest assured I will certainly ask them why they brought these presents. As I did some research on these three items, one question kept repeating itself: “Did the Magi know that the King of Kings would die for the world?”
I think that is definitely a possibility. If anything, these “presents” were a foreshadowing of the darkest day in history: the crucifixion of the Son of God.
I think many of us know that you can use frankincense for incense or perfume since it has aromatic properties. Do you know how it’s extracted? Frankincense is a resin derived from different species of Boswellia trees. Because the bark of these trees is so hardy, workers have to slash the bark to make the resin bleed out of the tree. This is called the striping process. Get ready for the goose bumps.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Myrrh is very similar to frankincense. It is also an aromatic resin, but did you know that it is a natural gum and can be mixed with wine? Unlike frankincense, myrrh is extracted from the Commiphora tree. The special characteristic of this short tree are its thorns. In order to get the essential sap, workers have to beat the tree. This is how the myrrh resin is bled out.
And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. Mark 15:17
If you’re like me, you associate gold with riches fit for a king! Well, Christ was certainly THE King, and gold seemed like a fitting present for Him. Well, think back to the Old Testament. After the Israelites left Egypt, they built the Ark of the Covenant. To really simplify it, the Ark was a wooden chest overlaid with gold. Above the Ark was the Mercy Seat with two cherubim facing each other, and it was all overlaid with gold. Once a year, the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat to atone for his sins and for the sins of the congregation of Israel.
When Christ died on the cross, His blood paid the Atonement of sins for all mankind. Because the King of Kings covered our sins with His own pure blood, we are able to meet with a holy God. (Hebrews 9 explains this extremely well!)
When I read all of this on the internet, my heart ached. Was Jesus ever really able to enjoy being a child or even human, or was He always reminded or aware of His impending sacrifice? Barely a toddler, He was given presents that represented his death and preparation of a burial.
I would love nothing more than to give my Savior presents that represent life! Let’s live lives that are a sweet savor and bring glory to God.