You know the story. When Jesus was still a baby, three wise and intelligent men of great nobility arrived, 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). Have you ever wondered why these wealthy men had brought those specific items? I have!
Yes, they were bringing gifts fit for a King, but what use were they? (I love to pick apart the details of Biblical accounts because nothing in the Word of God is unintentional and the deeper meanings are profound.)
Gold– clearly valuable throughout history and still valuable today, of course. However, Mark 2:13-15 notes that Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt to avoid being murdered by Herod. Gold would have paid for that trip and sustained them financially during their years in hiding in a foreign land.
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
Frankincense– a tree resin that when boiled or distilled into liquid (like an essential oil, for example) has immediate therapeutic and healing properties. Here’s what fascinating: Frankincense is very expensive, even today, because it can only be grown in certain parts of the world, and 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 over time and harden before being collected.
Myrrh– Harvested similarly to frankincense- repeated wounds to the thorny myrrh tree 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.
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. Awww! Not so! Did you really think God would allow His own Son to be left in any danger or poverty whatsoever? Nope. 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. God provides!
Thought for today
Gold, frankincense and myrrh were not random 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 those gifts 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!