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December 6, 2020 7:00 am
Well after the time of Jesus birth men from the East traveled many miles following a star bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child. We know little about these men, but we do know much about the significance of the gifts they bore welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act biblically the gifts of the Magi play an important role in their story.
Each present symbolizes an element of the Christ child's destiny and each gift indicates an offering that we as believers can bring to Jesus today. Let's join Dr. Boyce as he explores the fascinating story of the men who came from the East to deliver gifts that foretold the future of the child who would rain not in an earthly kingdom. But in the hearts of men in the second chapter of Matthew we read that sometime after the birth of Jesus Christ. Perhaps as much as two years after the event wisemen came from the East to worship them. This simple story has always figured largely in most celebrations of Christmas in this and other countries because it's an event upon which the imagination may easily take hold it has been embellished widely both in literature and art in the Bible story, we know very little about the wisemen millions of Christmas cards are shown three kings presenting gifts to a tiny child in the manger weed song we three Kings of Orient are but we do not know that there were three you brought the gifts and were not told that they were kings or even when they arrived in Bethlehem likely actually in view of their long journey and of Herod's command that all children under two years of age were to be killed that they arrive when the infant Jesus had already become a young child story is simplicity itself. We read now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king. The older came wisemen from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews were we've seen his star in the East or come to worship him were then told how the wisemen inquired of Herod and how afterward led by the star they found the child in Bethlehem story concludes when they were coming to the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him.
When they opened their treasures I presented under wing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
The fact that we are given so little information about the wisemen shows clearly that Matthew's interest was not focused upon the wisemen themselves rather he's interested in the fact that Gentiles came to worship the Jewish Messiah is also interested, perhaps above all in the gifts that they bore a literary critic would undoubtedly draw special attention to the gifts themselves for their current. The very end of the story after the child is been found, and they occupy a place of special prominence. Now let's see what this means what it means to you and me personally it's easy to see why gold is an appropriate gift for Jesus Christ. Gold is the middle of Kings. Most when gold was presented to Jesus.
It was a symbol of his acknowledged right to rule.
Several years ago I was driving through Greece with my wife and our oldest daughter was then just a baby. I found the kingly nature of gold reaffirmed by archaeology. The ruins of the town of Mycenae which states in its earliest strata from the time of the Trojan war. There's an ancient cemetery in which the kings of the town were buried later. The archaeological Museum of Athens.
We saw the objects found there, and among them gold was the most prominent one of most precious lines of this period of Greek history is an elaborate death mask called death mask of Agamemnon done in pure gold several years before that I have found the same thing illustrated by the elaborate burial ornaments discovered in the Valley of the Kings that themes in upper Egypt. This valley contain the coffin of King Tutankhamen on those well as other golden objects from the same period of history course point is also illustrated elsewhere often been pointed out by commentators that when the wisemen brought gifts of gold to the infant Jesus league actually being used by God to provide the funds necessary for Joseph to take the young child and his mother to Egypt to escape Herod's attempt on his life is probably true, although it is true it is far overshadowed by the significance of the gift itself. Jesus Christ was a teen wisemen new. He was the king of kings. Hence the wisemen pointed to his future kingship by their gifts of gold, also easy to see why frankincense was a significant gift. Frankincense was a type of incense used in the temple worship.
For one thing it was mixed with the oil that was used to anoint the priests of Israel or another.
It was part of the meal offerings that were offerings of thanksgiving and praise to God. Frankincense gave the offering, its most pleasant older presenting this gift.
Wisemen pointed to Christ as our great high priest, one whose life was acceptable and well pleasing to the father a very interesting feature frankincense as it was never mixed with sin offerings. The me and the wine offerings were offerings for sin and these were not to have frankincense mixed with them. Only the meal offerings which were not for sin were to receive frankincense. We discover this fact. We think naturally of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, whom the frankincense was given. He was without sin, when his enemies came to him on one occasion he challenges them with the question. Would you be you convicted me of sin. They were speechless.
On another occasion, he said of God his father.
I do always those things that please him. None of us can say that we are sinners.
Only the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless, was extremely fitting than that frankincense could've been offered by the wisemen to him.
We see from the symbolism of these gifts writes one commentator that the eternal loyalty and holiness of Christ were announced from his earliest years to come forth from heaven to perform the work of redemption and he was prepared in every way to do the father's will, so that he might fulfill every demand and obligation of the law bus only would she become eligible to die on the cross, and find that cross alone redeem the world that life could show that he was the perfect candidate for the cross weakling with surety to the work that was accomplished there at Calvary.
Since we know that our sin bearer was himself without sin. This quotation leads naturally to the last of the gifts produced as gold speaks of Christ's kingship and frankincense speaks of the perfection of his life. So does more speak of his death.
Myrrh was used in embalming because the trappings of death, although different words important then as today Moore was well known was an important item of commerce we receive an idea how important Mara was in the ancient world as we read the Bible we read in the account of Jesus burial. For instance, that Nicodemus used 100 pounds of murder in aloes in order to prepare the body 100 pounds of this combination were used for just one body must've been a tremendous amount of merlin often sold for funeral arrangements.
Moreover, the book of Revelation. We also read of the city of Asia minor called Smyrna. His name was actually the Greek word for Mark. The city was called Smyrna because the manufacturer of murder was chief industry give a parallel situation today in the names Hershey, Pennsylvania, Corning, New York and Winston-Salem Virginia which should also take in their names from work given their names to products know any human major would be all not offensive to present a spice used for emboldening the infant Christ because he was not offensive, nor in this case, was it really all odd, it was a gift. Please know precisely what the wisemen may have known or guessed about Christ's ministry, but we do know that the Old Testament again and again foretold his suffering and his death the 22nd Psalm describes his death by crucifixion. It was a verse from this Psalm. The Jesus quoted when he cried out on the cross, my God, my God, why a style forsaken me. Isaiah 53 verses four and five say, surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. It we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. There are dozens of other passages Christ was to suffer. He was to die for our sin was the gift of Mara symbolizes this part of his ministry were also a few other uses of murder in the ancient world and one of them is particularly important here because it was the use of murder which the Lord Jesus Christ refused every so often in the study of the Scripture.
The student of the Bible can learn a great lesson from verses that seem to oppose one another on the surface they seem to contradict each other on closer study.
They are actually seem to take some spiritual truths. Mark 1523 and John 1930 there is an example of such an apparent contradiction that actually teaches us something spiritual makes sense only when we know about the second use of murder.
The first verse we read when Jesus was crucified to soldiers who performed the crucifixion offered him wine mixed with Mara and that he did not receive it.
The second verse we are told that later when someone was again offered to him. He did receive it. What was the difference.
The difference was that in the first case, Morrow which helped to deaden the pain was mixed with the wind, and since Jesus wish to bear all that suffering and death could bring to him when he tasted it and realized that mother was mingled with the wine he turned away.
Later, in order to fulfill Psalm 6921 which says in my first they gave me vinegar to drink. He called for something and drank what was offered. Murder usually was used to deaden the pain.
Jesus wish to suffer all the company death when he became sin for us and died for our salvation. We looked at the spiritual significance of each of the three gifts given to Jesus by the wisemen gold, frankincense and myrrh, gold filled loyalty frankincense for the surety of his life more for suffering yet.
The study would be incomplete unless I were also to take you to one another verse that bears upon the gifts of the wisemen verses from the 60th chapter of Isaiah's prophecy near the end of the book and its verse six. It occurs in the midst of a great prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ and glory at the end of this present age chapter begins arrives shine for my delight is, the glory of the Lord is risen upon the it continues by showing the nations shall come to Christ light, and kings to the brightness of his rising incomes. Verse six Allison the multitude of camels shall cover the the dromedary's of Midian, a file they all from Sheba shall come, they shall bring gold and incense and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord you see the importance of this verse, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns a scene will be enacted that is similar to the coming of the wisemen to Bethlehem, he will reign in power gifts will be given to him when the gifts are presented will not be gold, frankincense, and Morrow, but gold and frankincense only myrrh speaks of suffering when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, he suffered once and for all sin and hereafter, there will be no more need for his suffering. Using the truth clearly should reduce the rule meaning of Christmas. Jesus Christ came to earth to die. That was his mission.
He died for our sin. Now those who believe on him wait for his second coming in glory recognize that it was this truth. The truth that Jesus came to die, but then rose from the dead to leave the suffering behind forever led to the first Christian conversion did. Who was the first Christian in the New Testament sense was drawn, the author of the fourth Gospel and how would he come to believe. Well early on the first Easter Sunday morning after Jesus had risen from the dead women came to the tomb found the stone rolled away from the opening and met the Angels were puzzled by all of these things and so they sent most of their number to find John and Peter will loan.
Of the 12 disciples remained in Jerusalem and on hearing the news, John and Peter went running the burial site. John younger probably arrived first at the door. He stopped looking any some of the graves close in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped following the crucifixion, but he did not understand then that he was risen, while John hesitated at the door.
Peter arrived panting, I suppose, and out of breath and immediately burst through the open door into the tomb.
John entered cautiously behind their in the tomb, the older of Maurer permeated everything graves close were they are now collapsed from the weight of the spices that headband was there. The mom was there but this is the great point body was gone.
And suddenly John understood that Jesus had indeed conquered death had been raised in a glorified body and Joan knew that the suffering of the Lord, symbolized by the more was behind him forever. Do you see that also. Do you believe what a pity it would be if you were to go to another Christmas season, while overlooking the meaning of it all through ignorance.
What is worse to see it all but the failed to commit your life to the one that was born on that first Christmas day in order that he might subsequently suffer for you and remove your sin forever all the world has so many false ideas of Christmas for some persons it's only a story that is somehow meant to glorified babies and motherhood brothers.
There is the false idea that we must do something for God like that ridiculous Christmas song. The little drummer boy suggests that Jesus will smile at us if we will play in Mattoon on our draw all know Jesus did not need to have us play in Mattoon on our little drums. He does not need anything that we can produce. We do need him.
We need a Savior. I said they were able to bring nothing the Christ was our Savior. But there is one sentence which is an exception to that list come with our faith.
We must come believing.
Moreover, there's a sense in which, by faith, we too may present the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. You begin with your Morrow Maurer is the symbol of your desk and of the spiritual death that should come to you for your sin, you laid at Christ's feet and you say Lord Jesus Christ. I know that I am less perfect than you are and I'm therefore a sinner. I know that I should receive the consequences of my sin, which is due will be barred from your presence forever eternal death.
You took my sin dying in my place. I believe that now I ask you to accept me as your child forever after you've done that you may come with you. Frankincense acknowledging that your life is as your is the life of the Lord Jesus Christ is sinless Bible teaches that there is no good in man that is not mixed with evil also teaches that Christ comes to live in the believer so that the good deeds produced in the life of a believer by the indwelling Christ become in their turn overruled of the sweet smell of sacrifice, acceptable, well pleasing to God. Finally, you may come with your goal. Gold symbolizes loyalty and rule us you come with that you acknowledge the right of Christ to rule your own life you say I am your child, you are my father wrecked my life and lead me in it so that I may grow up spiritually and honor, and to serve you. Accordingly, you done that you come believing in the motor frankincense and gold signify you have embarked on a path of great spiritual joy and blessing. Jesus are the gifts of faith. They are the only things that we can offer to the one who is given all things to us in our father, we thank you for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and all that it signifies. We ask these crews might be known and received by many. This Christmas season. We pray in Jesus name, amen. Listening to the Bible study hours between the teaching of Dr. James Boyd.
During this Christmas season.
We like to offer you a free holiday message on CD for the late Dr. Donald Ray Barnhouse. It's entitled Christmas contrasts this free CD offers our way of saying thanks for listening and Merry Christmas. Give us a call at 1-800-488-1888 we be happy to send you a copy of Christmas contrasts. Speaking of gifts, your gift to the ministry of the Bible study our will allow us to continue broadcasting. Dr. Boyce's messages on this station and online so that others may receive the good news of Jesus Christ, you can make your tax-deductible donation by calling us at 1-800-488-1888 or visit us online at the Bible study. Our daughter work you could mail a check to 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you. We really appreciate your support for this ministry. Have you read, think and act biblically. It's Dr. Boyce's daily devotional that corresponds with the message you just heard on the Bible study our read and subscribe to think and act biblically at the Bible study our daughter work by Mark Daniels. Thanks for listening.
You, the wise men traveled many days to find what they thought would be a future political team. What they found instead was a child would be a spiritual king change was an encounter between them as well join Dr. James Boyce as he explores God's revelation to the wisemen altered both the course of their journey and the course of their lives. That's next time one Bible study our repairing you to think and act biblically