“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)
The wise men, who followed the star to the young Christ child in Bethlehem, teach us the first principle of worship. It is through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
The Lord said to the Apostles that they would eat and drink at His table in the kingdom and sit on thrones (Luke 22:30), and we read that Mary was “highly favoured” (Luke 1:28). But worship is for God alone.
The wise men “fell down, and worshipped him.”
They worshipped Him by offering gifts, each of which were testimonies of the person and calling of the young child.
I think we can learn much from the interpretation given to the gifts by John Henry Hopkins in the old carol, “We Three Kings of Orient Are.”
Hopkins identified the significance of the gold as a testimony to royalty when he wrote, “born a king in Bethlehem’s plain.”
These wise men saw by faith that this little child born in apparent poverty was God’s promised King, born to rule in a coming glorious kingdom. This prophetic message is confirmed in the Book of the Revelation which tells of His Second Coming when He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Another wonderful line in the Christmas carol tells us, “incense owns a Deity nigh.” In Scriptures, frankincense was part of those offerings that were devoted entirely to God. By this gift, the Magi give a clear testimony that they recognized the young child was also the eternal Son of God.
Then there was the bitter-tasting myrrh that looked ahead to the horror of death on a Roman cross. He was indeed “King and God and Sacrifice,” as Hopkins wrote. He suffered and died to pay for your sins and mine.
These visitors to Israel so long ago are witnesses to us that this Jewish Messiah came to save all mankind, not only those descended from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Salvation and eternal life is ours in a once-for-all transaction, if we will turn from sin and trust the One who died for our sins and rose again.