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Friday, December 25, 2009

Gifts

MATTHEW 2:1-12

WHAT IS A GIFT? WHY DO WE GIVE GIFTS?

To show love or appreciation to the recipient, i.e., to add love to someone’s life. The power of bestowment to make the recipient rich, or honored, or special. To value or approve the recipient. What is valued by the giver becomes valuable by the recipient. To bind or hold two people together, i.e., “to wrap up” relationship.

WHAT GIFTS DID THEY BRING?

They opened their treasures, they presented gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (2:11).

1. Gold, monetary value, i.e., a measure of trade. They gave to Jesus their power or possessions.
2. Frankincense comes from Persia (Iran), India, or Arabia. Means “whiteness,” comes from the gum of the tree. The tree is “wounded” to gather its gum, used as perfume and medicine.
3. Myrrh, it was used to soothe muscles and wounds. Used to embalm bodies. Burned to eliminate pests. The molecular structure is blues, greens, i.e., cooling color, i.e., gentleness.
Gold to honor the King
Frankincense to worship the King
Myrrh to identify with pain and sorrow of the King

4. Why did they bring these gifts?
They were ordinary or expected gifts for a king. They were symbolic or prophetic. Gold for Christ rules on earth, frankincense for worship, and myrrh symbolizing His sufferings and death.
5. The source of their pilgrimage, the Star of Prediction.
They knew the Old Testament prediction. “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and the scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17). They came from the east (v. 1). “The star which they had seen in the east” (v. 9). The star reappeared. “Once again the star appeared to them” (v. 9, LB). The star travelled. “It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was” (v. 9, LB). The star produced joy. “When they saw the star they were filled with joy” (v. 10, LB). Name. The Eastern Star, the Bethlehem Star, the Christmas Star, His Star.

WHO WERE THE MAGI?

1. The word “wisemen” is Magi in the original language. A priestly caste of Zoroastrianism, they studied the stars. They had embryonic faith to believe and act on the little they knew of the Scriptures. Principle: information about the star didn’t save them, worshipping Jesus did.
2. Their names: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
3. From three different nations they came together following the star. Brought different gifts from their nations.
4. Some believe they were kings (Hymns) because of prophetic scriptures. “Nations will come to Your light, and kings to the brightness of your light” (Isa. 60:3). “The kings . . . will bring tributes to Him” (Ps. 72:16). “Kings will bring you gifts” (Psa. 68:29).

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE STORY?
1. To show Christ is King. “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matt. 2:2).
2. To predict Gentiles will worship Christ, not just the Jews.
3. To teach an attitude of worship. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11).