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Presented Him with Gifts

by David Johnson

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

 

     Thank you for listening to these radio broadcasts from Words of Life. So thankful that we can share the Word of God not only to America but to many different countries in southeast Europe, in Africa and in Asia. We thank you for the grace of God to be able to present these Bible lessons. Thank you for your responses through the mail.

     The title for the lesson is: “Presented Him with Gifts.” During this Christmas season let us listen to the text from the gospel of Matthew chapter 2 verses 9 through 12.

     “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

     This is the Word of God. A very familiar passage we will use as a springboard for our lesson this morning, or whatever the time is where you live.

     In spite of a troubling, surging Covid 19 pandemic that is global and is still having hot spots around the world and causing so much death and distraught, sickness and financial woes for many, not to mention rumors and actual lockdowns of restaurants, stores and shopping malls, most Americans and indeed people from around the world are still wanting to search for gifts to give to their loved ones and friends. It’s the Christmas season, the time to exchange gifts for many.

     According to the USA Today newspaper these are the recommended top five gifts to give to one another in recent times. I will share these top five gifts in reverse order. The recommendations for your gift list.

     #5 The Barefoot Dreams Blanket is what it is called. Now some of these gifts may not be available today with all the supply chain problems and what have you. Anyway, here they are. The Barefoot Dreams Blanket. Since we are all spending a lot more time than usual inside of our homes and as the weather chills in most places of the world during December, or in many places of the world. A perfect gift is a thick, luxurious throw blanket to cozy up in. You may want to order it in the very popular animal print.  It’s only about $ 147.00.  (Must have gold threading). The Barefoot Dreams Blanket.

     #4 Gift idea recommendation. The Apple (brand) Air Pods Pro. It’s reportedly the best truly wireless earphones for better sound and incredible noise cancellation plus water resistant. And it will only set you back, it’s only going to cost you about $ 129.00. Of course, these are prices without tax and American dollars. And I suspect the prices have increased if you can get them by now.

     #3 Recommended gift. It’s called a Disney Plus subscription.  This is a streaming service with new Disney movies and TV show offerings which will only costs about $ 70.00.

     #2 Recommended gift to give this holiday season. A Lodge Cast Iron skillet. This, of course, is cookware which we may need if we can’t eat in many of the restaurants, that can do it all!  With your Lodge Cast Iron skillet your happy giftee, the person you give this gift to, can cook on the stovetop, in the oven, on the grill, even on a campfire in the fresh air. And it sells for only about $ 20.00.  (Probably at a very crowded discount store).

     #1 Recommended by USA Newspaper Best gift idea in recent times. It’s a Roku Streaming Stick.  Roku is spelled R, O, K, as in Kevin, U Streaming Stick to binge watch, while trapped inside your house, all your favorite shows on your TV screen. For about $ 49.00, it’s all the rage!

     About half of the above gifts, I don’t know what they are. But that’s technology for you and that’s what many people want if they can afford it and if it is available where they live.

     In Jesus’ day special gifts fit for a king were quite different.  Again, consider Matthew chapter 2 and verse 11 “On coming to the house” obviously Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus after some undetermined time had elapsed, moved from probably a cave or crude stable of sorts to a warmer, more comfortable house in Bethlehem, which is about five miles south of the capitol city of Jerusalem.  It says of these visitors “they bowed down and worshiped him,” not her, just him, the baby Jesus, or the child Jesus.  We might ask ourselves why Gentile Magi or Wise men or Astrology Wise men would who studied the stars, bow down, and worship a young Jewish child.

     First, these wise men knew in advance revealed in Matthew chapter 2 verse 2 where it says they asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” So, they believed he was a king.

     Second, the Magi were amazed and followed a supernatural star which was their major pre-occupation. Matthew chapter 2 verse 2B “We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”  The Magi asserted this was the child-king’s star which was most probably a supernatural radiant light similar to the Shekinah radiance that guided the Israelites in the days of Moses as revealed in Exodus chapter 13 verse 21.  After all, these Wise men, these Magi were astrologers who studied the stars.

     Thirdly, the Magi may well have been Zoroastrian wise men from Persia in the east, who had knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures traced back to the time of Daniel; whom King Nebuchadnezzar “appointed chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.”  (According to Daniel chapter 5 verse 11).

     So, included in their worship also it is revealed in Matthew chapter 2 verse 11 “Then they opened their treasurer and presented him with gifts of gold, of incense and of myrrh.”

     #1 Gold. Is the precious metal of kings! Given to the King of kings. Gold was also a symbol of nobility and royalty. A very appropriate gift.

     #2 Incense or Frankincense. Is an expensive, sweet smelling incense or perfume used only for most special of occasions toward us. How about to celebrate the Son of God in his incarnation, becoming the human Jesus Christ who offered Himself on the cross for mankind, and to His Father, a most pleasing and sweet aroma!  Origen, a great early church leader, or so-called church father suggested that frankincense was the incense of deity.

     #3 Myrrh. M,Y,R,R,H is also, a perfume, not as costly, not as expensive as frankincense but still rather valuable.  The oil of myrrh could be used for the softening of skin, even the tender skin of a young child. Myrrh mixed with other spices was also used in preparation of bodies for burial or entombment, as later used for Jesus’ body, according to John, the gospel of John chapter 19 verse 39. Myrrh therefore could be a symbol representing Christ’s humanity.

     Probably all three of these costly, expensive gifts were later used by the family, , Joseph and Mary, to travel and spend some time in Egypt as King Herod sought to kill “the one born king of the Jews.”

     God the Father has given His indescribable gift to mankind, His only or one and only begotten Son, for mankind as Savior. 

     A gift must be received, however.

Have you personally received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? Jesus Christ is “the Gift of the ages”! He is still available, and He has been given freely, at no cost to us, at great cost to him.

     God’s greatest desire is that we receive His Son as our personal Savior and Lord through saving faith, and thereby give ourselves back to Him.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.

 

Editor’s Note:  The ‘current gifts’ that David lists are there to make a point and he is not recommending them.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33