Significance of Gifts from the 3 Wise Men

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 17th January 2024

The Gifts of the 3 Wise Men
The Gifts of the 3 Wise Men / Rawpixel via iStock

As the Christmas story unfolds in the Gospel of Matthew, we encounter the unique and intriguing figures of the Three Wise Men or Magi.

Celebrated for their offering to the baby Jesus, these men are known for their three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The tradition holds significance that far exceeds the literal presence.

It is embedded with rich spiritual symbolism, valuable lessons about faith and determination, and prophetic insights.

The beautiful tapestry of their story is laden with biblical context and historical connotations.

It is filled with deep symbolism depicting the Kingship, Priesthood, and the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

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The Symbolism of Gifts from the 3 Wise Men

The Gifts of the 3 Wise Men
The wise men’s gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh / marilyna via iStock

In the heart-warming narration of Jesus’s birth, the gifts brought by the 3 Wise Men hold significance.

This transcends the decadence of gold, frankincense, and myrrh themselves.

This biblical account, vividly depicted in Matthew 2:11, is permeated with astounding symbolism and romance connecting the material and spiritual realms.

The three gifts of the magi, as they are also known, hold profound symbolism related to Christ’s life and the nature of his mission to the world.

Gold: Signifying Jesus’ Royalty

For royalty | brightstars via Getty Images

Gold, a precious metal admired for its rare beauty and perceived value throughout history, was the gift from the first Wise Man.

It signifies the crucial recognition of Jesus as a King.

Presented unto him, it symbolizes his royalty. It prophesies his reign over humanity with his boundless love and unrivaled benevolence.

This recognition, even during his infancy, captures the faith in his destined kingship, contributing to our understanding of Jesus as the King of Kings.

Frankincense: Signifying Jesus’ Divine Nature

The Gifts of the 3 Wise Men
Closeup of frankincense resin in a mortar / Madeleine_Steinbach via iStock

Frankincense, the gift from the second Wise Man, was a substance created from the sap of the Boswellia sacra tree and is often associated with the divine.

It was commonly used in sacred rituals and burnt in worship as an incense, its fragrant smoke drifting heavenward.

This gift prophesies Jesus’ divine nature and his role as a mediator between God and humanity.

It beautifully signifies that Jesus is not merely recognized for his kingly status but also acknowledged for his divine nature, the Son of God.

Myrrh: Signifying Jesus’ Mission

Myrrh resin | Candy_Vandy via Getty Images

The third gift, myrrh, may seem peculiar to some.

It was customarily used to anoint bodies for burial, imparting a poignant element to the rejoicing event of Jesus’ birth

This gift symbolizes the crucifixion and the sacrifice Jesus would make by laying down his life for humanity.

It forecasts the suffering he would endure to wash away the sins of this world, highlighting the harsh but necessary reality of his earthly mission.

The Collective Significance of the Gifts

The Gifts of the 3 Wise Men
The Three Wise Men presenting their gifts to baby Jesus

Collectively, these gifts not only honor the birth of Jesus but also prophetically acknowledge his life trajectory as a King, God, and Savior.

They bring about the realization that his birth was not just a cause for celebration for his blessed arrival.

It was also a preparation for the journey he was destined to traverse.

In this light, the narrative of the 3 Wise Men offers believers in every generation a deep, meditative facet.

It reflects on the humiliation and the honor, the divinity, and the humanity of Jesus Christ.

They encourage us to embrace not just the joys of his birth.

They also remind us of the solemn reality of his passion, crucifixion, and resurrection, inviting us to a deeper relationship with him.

While we appreciate the splendid tradition of gift-giving during the festive season, let us call to mind the profound meanings symbolized in the gifts of the 3 Wise Men.

Let every present tucked under the Christmas tree or exchanged at the festive dinner be a testament to the grandeur of Christ’s kingship.

It represents the divine scent of his holiness and the bittersweet anticipation of his sacrifice.

As we partake in the joys and blessings of this divine festival, let each gift of love, peace, and hope we give and receive be a tribute to the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.

Lessons from the Journey of the 3 Wise Men

The Gifts of the 3 Wise Men
The Three Wise Men follow the Star of Bethlehem on their journey to the birth of Christ | Pink_frog via Getty Images

Firstly, it is essential to examine the journey of the 3 Wise Men itself, even before the homage they paid to the newborn Christ by offering Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This journey, full of faith and conviction, came fraught with challenges, perils, and uncertainties.

Taking this journey implies a willingness to embrace extreme hardships and navigate unknown paths, merely led by a star and moved by an unshakable faith in prophecy.

This valor teaches contemporary believers the virtue of unwavering commitment to faith.

However daunting the obstacle, however uncertain the route, we, too, are called to persist in our journey towards Christ—our journey of faith.

Divine Discernment and Guidance

Guided by Faith | tirc83 via Getty Images

Moreover, notice the discernment showcased by the Wise Men.

It is said they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, who harbored malicious intentions towards the newborn King.

Sensing the imminent danger, they opted for a different path home, thereby bypassing Herod.

This wisdom teaches believers about the significance of divine discernment and guidance in our spiritual journey.

It encourages believers to attentively listen to God’s guidance, especially when confronted with challenges and decisions.

Another noteworthy aspect is the steadfast determination infused in these men’s pursuits.

Though they were kings, their stature did not deter them from recognizing and bowing before the King of kings.

This humility is a powerful lesson to believers in this era of self-obsession and individualism.

It is a steady reminder to renounce our pride, acknowledge our dependence on Christ, and wholly dedicate ourselves to His service.

Stewardship of God’s Blessings

Diverse worshippers united in love for God
Diverse worshippers united in love for God / kali9 via iStock

Moving on, the Wise Men’s journey effectively exemplifies the essence of stewardship.

Personal treasures were relinquished in acknowledgment of Christ’s supremacy.

Similarly, believers are enlightened to faithfully steward the resources God has entrusted us with—not for our glory but to serve Him and others.

Last but not least, the international origins of these Wise Men were cited in the scriptures.

They weren’t Jews, yet they sought Christ, recognized Him, and worshipped Him.

This principle from the journey teaches that Christ’s kingship extends to all nations.

His love and salvation are universal, not limited by geographical, racial, or cultural boundaries.

So as believers, while we celebrate the joyous occasion of Christ’s birth, let us look to the journey of the 3 Wise Men for inspiration.

It beckons us to exemplify an unwavering commitment to faith, divine discernment, humility, faithful stewardship of God’s blessings, and a recognition of the universal kingship of Christ.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit fills us with this Wisdom as we undertake our journeys toward knowing, loving, and serving Christ more deeply.

The Prophetic Value of the Gifts of the 3 Wise Men

Understanding the gifts of the Wise Men through the lens of the prophetic tradition in Christianity sheds light on the divine-designed encounter.

In the Old Testament, prophets used tangible objects as powerful imagery to deliver God’s message.

Similarly, the Magi’s gifts convey profound messaging predetermined by God, thereby fitting into the fabric of prophetic tradition.

Journey of Faith and Commitment

The Christmas Star signifying the birth of Jesus Christ shines over the night forest in the starry blue sky
The Christmas Star signifying the birth of Jesus Christ shines over the night forest in the starry blue sky / assistantua via iStock

Bethlehem’s star led the Wise Men on a dangerous and uncertain journey that rejoices in the virtues of faith and commitment.

They followed the divine beacon despite the perils, showcasing raw faith, an example that all believers are called to follow.

The challenges faced by the Wise Men on their path to Jesus dramatize the ordeals that lie on the road to salvation.

This connection resonates with the trials faced by many of the prophets.

The gifts of the Wise Men also underscore the importance of divine discernment and guidance in our spiritual journey.

They intuitively followed guidance toward the prophesized gifts.

This act emphasizes the necessity of discernment, an attribute that was prevalent amongst the prophets of old.

It reaffirms the need for divine guidance in the lives of devout Christians.

Embracing humility, the Wise Men, men of high regard, bowed before the infant Jesus.

This act of humility reflects the Christian tradition’s prophetic roots where at times, proud kings and queens had to humble themselves before God’s prophets.

Recognizing Christ’s supremacy is a call to suppress arrogance.

It mirrors the prophets’ teachings and foundational Christian beliefs about Jesus’ role as the King of Kings.

Stewardship of God’s Resources

Hand showing the Holy Bible against the world map
God’s resources are global! / georgemuresan via iStock

Moreover, the Wise Men’s precious gifts signal faithful stewardship of resources for God’s glory.

The prophets often preached this topic, primarily in the parables of the talents in the New Testament.

Thus, the financial commitment to purchase the gifts parallels the Old Testament prophets’ teachings about utilizing resources that God blessed us with for His glory.

Finally, the Wise Men’s journey tells of the universality of Christ’s kingship.

It resonates with prophetic revelations of Christ’s reign extending beyond specific boundaries or ethnic groups.

The gospel’s promise of universal salvation echoes in the Wise Men’s actions as they were likely from different ethnic backgrounds.

This demonstrates that Jesus’ kingship is boundless and open to all, just as the prophets had proclaimed.

A Profound Illustration of Prophetic Tradition

The Holy family in snowy night and starry sky
The Holy family in snowy night and starry sky / RomoloTavani via iStock

In the unveiling of these gifts, we see a beautiful illustration of prophetic tradition within Christianity.

God’s unchanging voice speaks through them, connecting past prophecies with the realization of His redemptive plan through Jesus.

In addition, they encourage us to live in faith, humble obedience, and wise discernment.

They also inspire faithful stewardship and an understanding of the universality of Christ’s reign.

It is leading us closer to our walk with God.

Furthermore, reflecting on the journey of the Three Wise Men and the gifts they brought.

It becomes evident that these elements are as integral to Christianity’s narrative as the Birth of Christ Himself.

The Wise Men symbolize their commitment to a challenging spiritual pursuit through their arduous journey.

It parallels the path many Christians strive to embrace in the pursuit of faith.

Moreover, their gifts weren’t just tokens of adoration but prophetic symbols validating the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus.

As we unwrap the spiritual intricacies and prophetic symbolism of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Christmas’s true essence gains a deeper dimension.

Furthermore, it’s a celebration of faith, prophecy, and divine intervention, wrapped intricately in the gifts of the Three Wise Men.

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