“And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:7-11)
Among the first people to acknowledge the birth of the Messiah was a group of wise men, called Magi, perhaps philosophers or astrologers from a land somewhere to the East of Jerusalem possibly Persia. From their astronomical observations of a great star, and their reading of the Hebrew scriptures (Numbers 24:17) they discovered that a great Jewish king had been born. They traveled a long way to find Him, and when they found Him, they were overcome with ecstatic joy.
The Magi worshipped this baby for they knew He was a special. The light of Christ had shone on them in that great star to reveal to them the salvation of the Lord. And though they probably did not understand exactly how unique Jesus was, they presented Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, appropriate gifts for Jesus, as they were symbols which acknowledged who He was. Gold, the most precious of all metals, is a gift fit for a King, so it acknowledged Jesus’ supreme authority. The incense or frankincense was used in the temple to recognize the presence and holiness of God. It also signified the prayers of worshippers. Thus the incense symbolized the divinity of Jesus, that is He is God. Finally, the myrrh was a strong perfume that was used as anointing oil and for embalming the dead. Thus the myrrh represented the humanity of Jesus.
Perhaps the Magi did not realize the true nature of Jesus but we Christians do and with them we rejoice in this truth with exceedingly great joy! When we come to faith in Jesus we acknowledge all 3 aspects of Jesus, His absolute authority as Lord, His divinity and His humanity. We believe that Christ Jesus is both God and man, not one or the other, but both. As both God and man He alone is fully qualified to be the one and only perfect sacrifice which redeems us from sin and it consequences. We must also believe that He is our King, our Lord and that He has absolute authority over us. Our profession of His Lordship will lead us to walk by faith in obedience to His commands.