The account told in the gospels about the birth of Jesus Christ continues to fascinate the world thousands of years later. Why? Because Jesus Christ is still alive! The profound miracle of the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are as powerful today as ever because of the who He is and what He has done. Stepping away from godhood to experience the human condition (Phil. 2:7) was a beautiful and painful gift to the world, but “God so loved the world….”! (John 3:16-17) When Jesus was still a baby, three wise and intelligent men of great nobility arrived in Bethlehem, having traveled from a distant land to locate the Messiah from the prophecies. They brought three very expensive gifts for the newborn King: gold, frankincense and myrrh (Mark chapter 2). While the “wise men” may have thought they were bringing gifts for a king, God the Father intentionally planned for these specific gifts to be given to His Son, for a specific purpose.
The Lord provided for His Son in every way that was needed, and even used the wealth of the Gentiles and heathens to do it! When Jesus was born, He was vulnerable and young and unable to help Himself and the king wanted Him dead. Yet, before any of that happened, the provision of God was already in place.
Gold has been clearly valuable throughout history and is still valuable today, of course. However, the Lord provided gold for His Son to ensure that He was financially provided for. Mark 2:13-15 notes that when King Herod wanted to kill the newborn King, Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt to avoid death. Gold would have paid for that trip and provisions for the journey and sustained them financially during their years in hiding in a foreign land.
Frankincense is a tree resin that when boiled or distilled into liquid (like an essential oil, for example) has a wide array of therapeutic and healing properties. True, pure frankincense is very expensive, even today, because it can only be grown in certain parts of the world. In order to harvest frankincense, the tree must be repeatedly stabbed over a period of time until it “bleeds” resin, called “tears”. Then, that resin must dry and harden before being collected. The process is brutal and difficult for the tree and takes time to process so the frankincense can be truly pure. The Lord sent His Son frankincense to ensure that any physical needs would be taken care of. [Read this next: “The Birth of Jesus Foretold of His Death”]
Harvested similarly to frankincense, myrrh is produced through repeated wounds to the thorny myrrh tree to produce a resin that hardens and can be used for medicine and healing, fragrance or trade. Myrrh, also, can only be grown in specific parts of the world and it is produced from a tree covered in thorns. Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns during His crucifixion, was wrapped and buried with a mixture of myrrh and aloe. Myrrh is also a primary compound that was used by the Jews in worship. The Lord provided for Jesus spiritually when He was born to earth.
Holy, pure, worshipped, wounded, bleeding, healing. God knew His Son had been born to die, and those gifts were symbolic of what He would go through at Calvary
So often we think of sweet Baby Jesus being born in a barn and laid in a humble manger, a defenseless little baby in a poor family. But in reality, there was never any chance that God would allow His own Son to be left in any danger or poverty whatsoever. In fact, the Lord provided for Jesus’ every need, before those needs even emerged, by sending foreigners to give His family all the provisions they would need to flee to Egypt: money, medicine in case anyone got sick, items for trade so they could get food, clothing and shelter and the means to worship the Lord along the way. God provides!
Thought for today
Gold, frankincense and myrrh were not random birthday gifts. Did you notice the symbolic significance of them? Gold, in the Bible, is frequently mentioned as representative of purity, holiness and worship to the Lord. Frankincense and myrrh trees? Repeatedly wounded until they shed their blood which provides for life and health to all who apply it. That is our Jesus! Holy, pure, worshipped, wounded, bleeding, healing. For YOU. THIS is why we celebrate Christ-mas. THIS is why we worship. God knew His Son had been born to die, and He sent signs along the way pointing to Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World. And the gifts sent from the Father were lovingly intentional and symbolic of what His beloved Jesus would go through at Calvary. You can safely put your trust in God- He knows what you need before you’re even in need, and He provides- all the way through!