Tuesday, December 15
Read Matthew 2:11
No doubt the wise men were astounded to see this new-born King in such humble surroundings. No doubt they had expected Him to be the Son of royalty, perhaps a reigning monarch with all the splendor and wealth He would deserve. But even though they found Him in a common home with common parents, these learned men bowed down and worshipped Him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. The Bible does not give any symbolic significance to these three gifts, other than their inherent value. However, tradition has it that there is a deeper meaning for each of the three.
- Gold is a precious metal and as such was a very valuable commodity. Gold is a symbol of divinity and is mentioned throughout the Bible. Pagan idols were often made from gold and the Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold. The gift of gold to the Christ child was symbolic of His divinity—God in flesh.
- Frankincense is a white resin or gum. It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark and allowing the gum to flow out. It is highly fragrant when burned and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. Frankincense is a symbol of holiness & righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up, analogous to a burnt offering.
- Myrrh was also a product of Arabia and was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. It was a spice and was used in embalming. It was also mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink was given to our Savior when He was about to be crucified, as a stupefying potion. In Matthew 27:34, it is referred to as “gall.” Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and affliction. The baby Jesus would grow to suffer greatly as a man and would pay the ultimate price when He gave His life on the cross for all who would believe in Him.