The wise men’s three gifts


The question is asked: “Is there meaning to the gifts of the “Wise Men” in Matthew 2:11? This verse reads: “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold and frankincense, and myrrh.”

These wise men were of great eminence in the Persian Empire at that time. And it is unlikely that the caravan from the East consisted of just three men, The wise men more likely had a large entourage as they searched for the future King of Israel.

So it was no wonder that “all Jerusalem” was “troubled,” along with King Herod, (Matthew 2:3). The Persians were never conquered by the Romans and at that very time, posed a significant threat along the eastern boundary of the extended Roman Empire.

When they found the young child and His mother in Bethlehem, the Wise Men “fell down, and worshipped Him” (Matthew 2:11). But why did they offer Him just three gifts, and why these three gifts?

Somehow they sensed or seemed to know what gifts would be appropriate, possibly from mediating deeply on the ancient prophecies of Balaam (Numbrs24:17), Daniel (in Daniel 9:24-26) and David, concerning the priesthood order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4).

Through studying, they knew that this young child whose birth had keen announced by a star was destined not only to be the King but would also become the Messianic Sacrifice. That would be “to make reconciliation for sin. And then that He eventually become our eternal High Priest who “ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Thus the gold would acknowledge His right to reign; the frankincense would speak of the incense to be offered in the heavenly tabernacle and the myrrh (John 19:39) to testify that His crucified body would be so anointed as it entered the tomb for a very temporary burial.


       If you have a Bible question write to Pastor Lenard Huebcher, Grace Baptist Church, 12721 75th St. North, Stillwater MN, 55082 or call 651.430.3132.