December 26, 2006
Wise men: Who Are Those Guys Anyway?
“Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh: (Matthew 2 11 NIV).
Friend to Friend
There has been quite a bit on confusion over the years about the “Wee Three Kings of Orientar.” Who were they? Wise men? Magi? Kings? How old was Jesus when they arrived? Did they get there on Christmas night? Or was Jesus a toddler by the time they arrived? The rough and rowdy Herdmans in The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever, thought a ham was a much more practical gift than gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:1-12 tells the story of the wise men (KJV) or magi (NAS) who came from the east to worship the new King of the Jews. Traditionally they have been referred to as Kings, but nowhere in Scripture is that confirmed. We don’t know exactly how many of them ere were, but again, traditionally we’ve celebrated three, because of the three gifts.
Most likely, they did not show up in the stable at the advent of Christ’s birth. Matthew 2:11 says that they “came into the house and saw the child,” indicating that Mary and Joseph had moved from the stable. We’re not sure how old Jesus was when they arrived. Some sources say He was approximately two-years-old.
Apparently, God did not think all these details were important. But He did give specific details about the gifts that the wise men brought for Jesus: Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- Gold stood for the riches of a king. Jesus was the King of Kings. (Revelations 19:16)
- Frankincense was incense used by the priests in the temple worship. Jesus would be our high priest Who would go before the Heavenly Father and intercede for us. (Hebrews 4:14)
- Myrrh was a perfume used in burial services, pointing to Jesus’ death on the cross - a holy sacrifice for our sins. (Romans 5:8)
One way to emphasis the journey of the wise men is to place them a short distance away from the nativity displayed in your home. Each day, move the trio a little closer, until they finally arrive on Christmas Day.
Dear God, sometimes we get so caught up the traditions of men, that we overlook the intentions of God. Help us to remember the true meaning of Christmas and focus on what is really important. We worship Jesus, our King, our Priest, and our Savior.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now it's Your Turn
- Can you think of any Christmas traditions that you are unsure where they came from or why we celebrate them? If so, consider researching to discover their origins.
- List some ways that Jesus is your King.
- List some ways that Jesus is your high priest.
- List some ways that Jesus’ death and resurrection changed your life.
More from the Girlfriends:
If you would like more ideas on ways to keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season, see
Girlfriends in God, Inc.