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Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Rev. Enoch Thompson | December 26, 2023 | Matthew 2:1-12


On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 (NIV)



Boxing Day! Hurray!!

We love Boxing Day because we have the opportunity to give gifts to our friends and family, and we receive gifts, expressions of the love of others to us. Christmas is the time of the greatest gift donation (note, not a gift exchange). God gave His best, His only Begotten Son, to be born in difficult circumstances to accomplish a difficult mission, God dying for the children of humanity.  By His incarnation, His life and ministry, Christ gave us the greatest gift of the love of God. And we emulate the spirit of Christmas when we give and receive gifts at Christmas, on Boxing Day.

But when we give gifts what do we mean, and what do our gifts say?


In our text for today, we have the beautiful, intriguing story of the visit of the Wisemen to the child Jesus. We are to take note of the fact that the Jesus that the Wisemen saw was no longer the babe in the manger. The journey of the Wisemen from the east would have taken them about a year and the young Jesus is thought to be about two years when they finally reach Him with Mary and Joseph as in our text.


Our focus is on the gifts they brought and the meaning of those gifts. We read in Matthew 2:11 (NIV), “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh.”  The Wisemen bowed down and worshiped the child Jesus! What a gesture from these knowledgeable men! They were convinced of the fact that they were after God come in human form, from their study of the Hebrew Scriptures. This child that a star had led them to was God, and their first gift to Him was their worship!! Are you worshipping God or using God?


Next, they opened their treasures and brought out their gifts to the young Jesus. We have the treasure store of our lives and our hearts. We can choose to keep them closed to the Master or to open them to the Master. These are freewill choices that God will not force us to make. Are you freely making your gifts available to the Master or keeping them to your chest?


They brought out gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts of value and loaded with meaning. In ancient gold, frankincense and myrrh were hard currencies with which one could transact business anywhere. The Wisemen brought gifts that could be used to cater for the needs of the child Jesus. When the Holy Family had to escape to Egypt, we did not hear of challenges with the bills both for the journey and for settling down in Egypt, because the gifts of the Wisemen would have written off the bills.


But more on the spiritual significance of the gifts, the Wisemen, led by the Spirit of God, spoke of the identity and mission of Christ by the gifts they brought.  The child before whom they bowed was not an ordinary child. He was God Almighty who came down in human form to save the children of humanity.

The gold symbolized the fact that Jesus was the King of kings whose Kingdom will never end. The incense proclaimed that He was God to whom the sacrifices of humanity should rise like the sweet fragrance of incense in fire. The myrrh was symbolic of His mission to die as the last and ultimate sacrifice in the place of all the sacrifices of bulls and lambs and drinks. He was the dying Saviour!



What gifts do you have for your friends, but more importantly for the lord? Let your life be the gift that you give to God, and with that give everything you have of earth’s goods and opportunities.  Let your gifts speak, to God and humankind.



Lord Jesus, I come to you today with all that I have and all that I am. I bow before you and offer the gift of my life as a living sacrifice. Please take me and use me as you please. I pray that my life will speak of your wonders, and lead many to find you and worship you too.

Please grant that this Christmas season many people shall understand the reason for the season and come to you with their sin-laden souls, to find rest in you.

For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.




The Greek phrase "ἀνοίξαντες τοὺς θησαυροὺς αὐτῶν" (anoixantes tous thēsaurous autōn) is translated as "opened their treasures." The verb "ἀνοίξαντες" (anoixantes) means to open, and "θησαυροὺς" (thēsaurous) refers to treasures or repositories of valuables.

In Matthew 2:11, The Magi, having found Jesus, opened their treasures and offered him precious gifts. The act of presenting treasures to someone of high honour or royalty was a customary practice in the ancient Near East. It demonstrated respect, homage, and recognition of the recipient's significance.

The treasures symbolize the Magi's acknowledgement of Jesus as a king, priest, and one worthy of the finest gifts. Each gift (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) holds symbolic significance, representing Jesus' kingship, divinity, and sacrificial mission.

The presentation of gifts to a ruler or deity is a motif found in the Old Testament. It aligns with the prophetic expectation that kings and nations would bring their wealth and homage to the Messiah.

In the opening of their treasures, the Magi exemplify a profound act of worship and recognition of the divine nature of the infant Jesus. This moment is more than a material offering; it signifies a spiritual acknowledgement of Jesus' unique identity and role in salvation history. The gifts, beyond their material value, speak of the Magi's understanding of Jesus' royal, divine, and sacrificial nature.

The Magi's gesture challenges us to examine the nature of our worship and the depth of our recognition of Jesus' significance. May our offerings, like the Magi's treasures, be expressions of genuine reverence and acknowledgement of Jesus' lordship in our lives.


As we consider the Magi's act of opening their treasures to honour Jesus, what treasures do we offer to the Lord in our worship? How can our lives, talents, and resources reflect a sincere acknowledgement of Jesus' kingship, divinity, and redemptive work in our lives?

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