Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Mt 2:11). (2016). Crossway Bibles.
The Advent story has so many contours that add to its beauty. The Wise Men saw many times how the star “would rise” according to the wording in Matthew 2, and they followed, they took their worship and their gifts showed the depth of their perception.
Their gifts were to typify their perception of Jesus’ earthly missionThe perception is not just shared with the Magi, but the words of Zacarias in Luke 1 also share the same vision
Jesus would reveal through the Gospels aspects of His Kingly position (GOLD). One such episode is the Transfiguration, where His Glory, would be accompanied by a cloud, and by the Father’s voice, the presence of Moses and Elijah. This episode is only shared between Jesus and 3 disciples. The other example is found in John 11, which records in detail the raising of Lazarus, this being a manifestation of His Kingly authority, authority over death. This was open to many many and it is this miracle that provoked the scheme of betrayal and death, angered the pharisees who saw their influence decline. The other example that comes to mind, is the calming of the storm. He showed He had power over nature. Another kingly event would be really when they tried to make Him King, when He fed 5000 and showed He had power over provision. All these incidences are being reminded to me.
Jesus would also reveal Himself in His Priestly position (FRANKINCENSE). In John 4 Jesus reaches out to the Samaritan woman, including her into the salvation plan, as well as those who lived with her. The other is the Syro woman from Tyre and Sidon, who found favour because of her faith, because of her persistence for her daughter. The other being the Centurion for his servant. In these incidences Jesus reaches out and extends beyond what was normally accessible and because of their responses they were brought in.
Jesus would also reveal Himself in His Prophetic position (MYRRH). The main example is the weeping over Jerusalem, (Luke 19) prophesying her demise, because she had not discerned her hour of visitation. The other is when He expelled the money changers in Mark 11. He predicts the demise of this Temple and the founding of another. His expulsion of the moneychangers and the zeal for His Father’s house is most prophetic. A violence in the physical strength needed to expel the stalls and animals. The aspect of Myrrh being the prophetic facet of His earthly mission must be found in the process of betrayal to His death on Calvary. We see also the troubling of His heart throughout the Last Supper. This shows us a depth of the prophetic that today can be misunderstood when we think of the ministries we call prophetic. I think there is a suffering that comes in this ministry that makes it “bitter” like Myrrh.
Today the challenge to the Church in this aspect is to perceive these 3 streams present in Jesus’ earthly mission. The Magi were not merely visitting Jesus, the Baby, they were prophesying in their adoration! The whole aspect of the Feast of Christmas is lost when we reduce this message to being a annual beautiful story to be forgotten in January. Jesus must be constantly being born in our hearts and minds.
Their gifts were to typify their perception of His Heavenly MissionNothing more complete and glorious comes in the message when we ignore this fact
Kingly (GOLD) This 1st Advent is a shadow of what is to come. The 2nd Advent would start when Jesus would ascend from earth to heaven. Acts 1, Luke 24 shows us this event with a nuance from the angels promising that Jesus in the same way He is being taken would be brought again. The fulness of His Kingly mission is described so beautifully by Paul in Philippians 2, that Jesus was given the Name above every name. That at that Name, every knee would bow, and every tongue would confess He is Lord. This bowing for us is a reality, for some it shall be done in that Day of the Lord, when all shall be made subject to His Glory and will receive each one his portion for eternity in accordance to what response they gave to Jesus in this life. He who rejected Him, would be cast out, He who worshipped and bowed in adoration would be given the Crown of Eternal Life and dwell in the New Jerusalem He has prepared for all His saints.
PROPHETIC (Myrrh) In Acts 3:19-21 we see Jesus’ demonstration of this in His eternal prophetic stream of ministry. He organises the Kronos and Kairos, bringing the fulness of His person to each generation, and in the fullness of time He shall manifest where every eye shall see Him. He is said to come TO His saints, to His Church, first, before He comes FOR Her. Without spot or wrinkle. In this the Spirit weaves His purposes within these Kairos and Kronos times to bring the Bride to her fullness. What a beautiful vision of how the Triune God brings about the fullness of Purposes. In this demonstration we see a Suffering Church, Suffering Saints, who also must taste of the prophetic Myrrh. This bitter side to the wonderful prophetic prepares us as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4 that this light and momentary affliction works for us an eternal weight of Glory!!!
PRIESTLY (Frankincense), Hebrews 7-9 spells out the meaning of Jesus’ priesthood and how He confers it to us, as we are qualified to enter His Presence with boldness and confidence of our faith. The qualification for Jesus is that He is eternal, and we have also been made eternal through our new birth. That He has no ascendance, not part of a natural family. And that we too are now part of a spiritual family of faith. Then also by His own perfection He presents His own Blood to be a legal and powerful opening to the redemptive manifestation of that Priesthood to us, redeeming us, making us sons and heirs. What the Magi were doing in their offering, so prophetic was pointing to two timeframes in Jesus’ Mission.
As we meditate on these gifts of the Magi may we marvel at the depth of their perception. May we in the light of this embrace the full revelation of Jesus Christ which births in us the Testimony that He gives us, to overcome every obstacle and trial, to be presented before the Father perfect as Jesus is!