I’m LOL-ing at this child’s version of the Wise Men visiting Jesus:
“When the three wise guys from the east side arrived, they found Jesus in the manager.”
This was probably the same child who said Mary, the mother of Jesus, sang the Magna Carta!
All I know is, I’d rather be a Wise Man from anywhere than a “Wise Guy” when it comes to the story of Christmas.
Some “Wise Guys” today are out and out scoffers; they mock the birth of Christ (as well as His “atoning” death and resurrection).
But other “Wise Guys” are believers who don’t want to be bothered with the Savior.
Both need to pay attention and learn from the biblical Wise Men!
While the “Wise Guys” (the religious “professionals” of Jesus’ day) wouldn’t even travel a few miles to greet their Messiah, the Wise Men traveled “from the east” (some say, several hundred miles!) to see Him. They were eager to get to Bethlehem and prepared to respond when they got there.
The Wise Men’s intention was to follow a strange “star” that caused them to rejoice—some Bible scholars describe this as God’s shekinah light—and to find and worship the newborn king (Matthew 2:2). Perhaps they’d read about Him in prophetic scriptures. These men were not Jews, but somehow they recognized the significance of Jesus’ birth.
The Wise Men prepared and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). These treasures were practical and sweetly generous for the family of a newborn, but biblical scholars today believe they were also highly symbolic.
Gold was a gift sometimes given to a family with a newborn baby to help with expenses. Valuable in biblical days as it is today, it is said to symbolize Jesus’ divinity. Our Savior was born as God in the flesh (John 1:1-4; John 14:9-10; Philippians 2:6-7; and see “Is Jesus God in the Flesh?”)
I wonder if, in offering the gold, the Wise Men were acknowledging Jesus’ right to rule—His sovereignty.
Frankincense, a white resin from Boswellia trees, was used for incense or perfumed oil, and in some cultures as a medicine. Used in worship offerings in ancient times (Exodus 30:34), it is said to symbolize Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Some scholars believe this incense symbolizes the sacrifice Jesus would offer up to the Father and the blood that would flow to atone for our sins. *
I wonder. In offering frankincense, did the Wise Men point to Jesus’ sinless nature, making Him the only possible Savior?
Myrrh, considered a spice, is also a perfume. It was obtained by making cuts in the bark of a tree from the Arabian Commiphora family. The cuts allowed a white resin to flow. Myrrh (or “gall”) was sometimes mingled with water to form a comforting drink, similar to what was offered to Jesus (Mark 15:23; Matthew 27:34). It also used in embalming. Myrrh is said to symbolize the bitterness and suffering of the cross. *
I wonder if the Wise Men knew Jesus would be “stricken, smitten by God … and afflicted … pierced … crushed” (Isaiah 53:3-5) so that we might be healed?
[Some people believe the Wise Men might have read that passage in Isaiah as well as Isaiah 60:3 and Daniel 9:24-27—where “an anointed one shall be cut off”—and other prophetic verses, giving them insight not only into who the Messiah might be, but that He would be killed. Perhaps this is why they brought the myrrh.]
But my point is this:
The “Wise Guys” (the Jewish leaders schooled in the scriptures), knew where the Messiah would be born (Matthew 2:3-5), but didn’t want to be bothered with checking out for themselves whether this was indeed their Messiah. They just didn’t have time for Jesus.
On the other hand, the Wise Men not only want to check the baby out for themselves, they responded correctly when they encountered Jesus in the manger (Matthew 2:11). They not only had time for the Christ Child, they heartily and reverently worshiped Him, offering their gifts. It’s been said the Wise Men’s gifts were prophetic—fit for a king (gold), a priest (frankincense) and a Savior (myrrh).
Later, understanding that to return to King Herod with their report might endanger the baby, they made the wise choice to disobey Herod (Matthew 2:12). Their decision indicated wisdom, and perhaps faith. The Spirit of God had likely moved in their hearts.
The Wise Men are examples for Christians today too.
- We must recognize Jesus’ sovereignty. He is Lord! (Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:21-23; Revelation 19:16)
- We must be “a fragrant offering” to God, pleasing Him and drawing others to Christ (Philippians 4:18b; 2 Corinthians 2:15).
- We must express eternal gratitude for His sacrifice for our sin and resurrection from the dead, in great grace giving us a place with Him in eternity. (John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:22; 1 Peter 1:19; Ephesians 2:8-9)
And, Christians, let’s be wise and do all we can to help today’s “Wise Guys” wise up and recognize who that baby in the manger really was! (Daniel 12:3)
Are you “wise” regarding Jesus? If not, here is how you can “wise up.”
References about gold, frankincense and myrrh: http://www.compellingtruth.org/gold-frankincense-myrrh.html; http://www.gotquestions.org/gold-frankincense-myrrh.html