“Which Gift Was The Greatest?”
Matthew 2:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
In our Scripture, we see the response of the Magi to the news that would become the greatest gift mankind has ever known; the birth of our Messiah.
- They bring the tangible gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. While all of these gifts are of great value and have special meaning, none of these three was the greatest gift given by the Magi.
- The greatest gift presented by the Magi was the gift of worship.
When the Magi have arrived in Jerusalem, they asked a simple question: where is this newborn King of the Jews?
- To “pay him homage,” is the Greek phrase, pros-koo-neh’-o, which literally means to prostrate oneself, or to fall to one’s knees in the presence of a king.
- This phrase indicates that the Magi didn’t just come to give tangible objects to a newborn king, but they came to give their entire selves to the Savior.
What God wants first out of us is that we present ourselves utterly and completely pros-koo-neh’-o, at the foot of our Savior.
- God desires our honor, our adoration, our homage, our worship first and foremost. Then, and only then, can we truly give our other gifts over to the work of the Lord.
- In Copenhagen, Denmark there is a statue of Christ. A tourist standing in front of it appeared dismayed. A local resident asked what his problem was. He replied, “I cannot see His face.” The resident then explained, “If you desire to see His face, you must kneel at His feet.” Missionary & Evangelist E. Stanley Jones described his experience of viewing this statue: “As I walked up the cathedral aisle, I was overcome with awe. But as I walked along, my Danish friend whispered, You will not be able to see his face unless you kneel at his feet. I knelt at his feet, and only then was his face looking into mine.”