Some months after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph are settled into a home there. And some visitors arrive, Magi from the East, and they came bearing gifts for the child. I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought as they opened each treasure. The Magi gave Gold, a gift fitting for a king. The parents had never seen such a gift, but on behalf of the Child, they receive it anyway, almost embarrassed. It seems too much. Then the Magi give them frankincense. And Mary and Joseph understand that it is a gift fitting for the Son of God come in the flesh. But then the Magi pull out the last gift and Mary doesn’t know what to say, “Oh myrrh. Embalming fluid.” And she feels a pang in her heart as she knows this is a gift fitting for a sacrifice.
When the Magi saw the Christ Child, they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Frankincense is a gift fit for God. In the Bible, the burning of frankincense pictures our prayers as going up to God as a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to Him. Frankincense pictures the worship of God. It pictures that unique gift—that fragrance that rises out of the human heart to the living and glorious God.
This and the next two messages will be an in-depth look at the significance of the three gifts presented to the Christ Child by the Magi: The Gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. What does each particular gift say about its recipient Jesus Christ? What does it say about who He is and what He has done? This message is about Gold: A Gift Fit for a King.
"The Magnificat:" Mary’s Hymn of Praise
And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49 "For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
50 "AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
51 "He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 "He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
53 "HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 "He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever."
A young virgin by the name of Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that by the Holy Spirit she would conceive in her womb and bear the Son of the Most High. Mary’s responded to the angel, “Behold, I am the bondslave of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.”
Think about what Mary’s obedience could potentially cost her. She was betrothed to a carpenter by the name of Joseph. Her reputation in the community would be damaged beyond repair. What would her parents think and how would they treat her? What would Joseph think and how would he treat her? What would Mary’s relationship with Joseph and her family be from here on out?
This was going to be hard for Mary, but God with whom nothing is impossible, is going to confirm it. Along the way, He is going to give confirmation and assurance in Mary’s humble obedience. Along with the greatest task that takes the most determined obedience comes the greatest joy and the greatest assurance and confirmation that this is of God and that He will perform it.