The Magi

December 22, 2009
by Anne Russell

Matthew 2:11-12,16 – And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. (NKJV)

It was just a year ago that I was taking an online course through Knox College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In short, taking the course meant putting Scripture together and keeping in mind how God speaks to us. As an example of this process, I thought back to a previous tour of Turkey.

My husband and I entered a mosque that had been a very large Christian church. It was being converted to Islam, and as the plastered walls were torn away, a picture in mosaic tiles depicting Mary and Joseph and a young boy standing at their side was revealed. This young boy would have been Jesus at the age of perhaps two years — the time, according to today's Scripture, that I believe the Magi would have enquired of the birthplace of Jesus, when He was a "young Child", not a baby.

Listening to God speaking, I realized that the gifts that the Magi brought for the King all have treasured significance.

Gold is a symbol of deity and glory; it speaks of the shining perfection of His divine person.

Frankincense is an ointment of perfume; it suggests the fragrance of the life of sinless perfection.

Myrrh is a bitter herb; it presages the suffering He would endure in bearing the sins of the world.

As I continued to put Scripture together and listen to God speaking, I was reminded of how God warned the Magi not to return to Herod, and so they obediently returned home "another way".

This describes for us the path to follow in obedience. No one who meets Christ with a sincere heart ever returns the same way. True encounter with Him transforms all of life.

Prayer: Dear Lord, as we follow You in obedience, may we treasure Christ in our hearts. Enable us to be transformed and never return to old ways. In the name of Jesus our Saviour, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Anne Russell <annerussell80@gmail.com>
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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