Wise men from the east web

Wise Men From The East

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.” (Matthew 2:1)

The religion of the East was heavily characterized by sorcery, magic and divination. Astrology was very popular in the East. It was the norm for kings to have a team of sorcerers and magicians who advise and provide spiritual direction.

The Greek word translated as “Magi” or “wise men” (as translated by King James) actually means magicians or sorcerers.

God, in His manifold wisdom and boundless mercies, not wanting anyone to perish in their sins, revealed to sorcerers in their own practice that the Savior has been born.

In fact, God has left a sign in all cultural and religious practices of men that point to Christ. Anyone who can recognize the sign that the Savior of the world has been born, and submit to Him in reverent worship is wise indeed!

The gifts presented to the newborn Jesus by the Magi are also instructive and symbolic.

First of all, they presented gold. It’s known in biblical times that kings were often paid in gold.

“The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents.” (1 Kings 10:14).

When someone ascends a throne, he is often adorned in gold as a royal status symbol.

“Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” (Genesis 41:42)

Therefore, knowing very well that the baby is a king, the wise men presented him with gold as a recognition of his royalty.

Secondly, they presented frankincense. The root word for frankincense means “high quality incense.” The burning of incense is a widespread practice in the temples of deities. In biblical times, frankincense was burned in the temple as an offering to God.

He was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. (Luke 1:9)

The presentation of frankincense was an indication of their recognition of the deity of Jesus. The wise men didn’t stop here. Their actions backed the symbol of their gift, in that they actually bowed down to worship the baby Jesus.

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him…” (Luke 2:11)

At this point, their submission to the lordship of Jesus is final and conclusive.

Furthermore, the wise men presented myrrh as a gift. This was the weirdest item in their treasury. Myrrh was commonly used to embalm dead bodies in ancient times. It was also a Jewish custom to embalm the dead with myrrh. When Jesus died, Nicodemus brought myrrh.

“Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus…He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.

Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (John 19:38-40)

The offering of the myrrh by the wise men was therefore prophetically symbolic of the death of Jesus. We are blessed by the birth of Jesus, but it is His death that brings us redemption.

Today, Jesus’ star is still glaring in the sky, and no honest spiritual seeker will struggle to see it. The star leads us precisely to the place of the acknowledgement of the royalty, deity and sacrificial death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Written by Overseer Joel Kwesi Baidoo (Kpandai New Town District)

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *