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Thousands upon thousands of years ago the most miraculous event in human history had occurred. It changed the destiny of humanity for all eternity. It was and still is the greatest expression of God’s love toward us.
So let us go back into time. The ancient land was governed by an evil king who was an imposter to the throne, of mixed blood and compromised allegiances. He was made king by the foreign power that ruled over the people.
The people’s spiritual homeland and city was under the rule of one of the most brutal empires of humanity. The hearts and minds of the people were spiritually dry. Few had recognised the signs from heaven and the time of their awakening. Most had missed the significant expression of God’s love and the coming of their true king.
The city was their spiritual heritage. It was the city of their great king of centuries before. In fact the promise was that from his tribe, the eternal king of all creation would come. Yet they held onto the past and missed the glory of the present.
Their royal city was a place of many promises. Of hope and deliverance, salvation and freedom, yet it remained under foreign power and their oppressive forces.
It was into this city and situation that the students of the stars had come.
the sign of the king
They had seen the sign of the coming of the greatest king of all. The one who would bring His eternal kingdom of life and light, deliverance and freedom, healing and forgiveness, love and peace, truth and justice, equality and respect.
He is the king of all creation, who through Him and by Him created all things good. Born not of human seed, but of the Holy Spirit of God, through a woman. He was, is and always will be the Eternal One. The Eternal One who gave up His heavenly riches and came down to earth to be born as a vulnerable baby.
The students of the stars who were searching for Him were not of His tribe. They were foreigners to this city and land, yet they testified of Him. For they had seen His royal star from the east. They travelled far, from their distant land, just to see and worship Him.
They were students of the stars and saw His divine light. God had reached into their culture and showed Himself in a way they would know and understand Him. They were seeking the truth, the way and the life. In their search they found Him. The King of all creation.
The evil king and all in the royal city were greatly troubled. They heard that the students of the stars had travelled from the east to find the King of all kings and worship Him.
Through deception and trickery the evil king tried to discover the young child’s location, with the one purpose of killing Him. He would not give up his power to another, so he set his heart towards evil and the assassination of the young child, the king of all kings.
the students of the stars rejoice
So let’s pick up the story with the evil king trying to deceive the students of the stars.
Matthew 2:7-12 Then Herod (the evil king), when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 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.
The star of the king went before the students of the stars. His star was unique and behaved like no other. It stopped and shone over His dwelling. His majesty and splendour was declared by His own creation. In the beginning His word went forth and He said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.’
the students of the stars bought treasures for the king
The students of the stars saw His star and rejoiced with exceeding great joy. They must have been filled with awe and wonder, caught up in the moment, as if time stood still. They had travelled so far and the moment now had come. Excitement and confident expectation filled their hearts. They entered the house and they saw the young child, the king of all creation there with His mother. Their immediate response was to fall down and worshipped Him.
They had brought treasures of the east, rich in symbolism and revelation.
the gift of gold
The first gift mentioned is gold. Gold is the treasure of kings. The Queen of Sheba centuries before came to king Solomon and honoured him. The first item listed in the gifts was gold. It was Solomon who wrote about the coming of the King of all creation and the gifts and worship He would receive.
Psalms 72:10-20 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles Will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba Will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper.
He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight. And He shall live; And the gold of Sheba will be given to Him; Prayer also will be made for Him continually, And daily He shall be praised.
There will be an abundance of grain in the earth, On the top of the mountains; Its fruit shall wave like Lebanon; And those of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
Then students of the stars opened their treasures and gave gold in honour of His right to rule and reign over all.
the gift of frankincense
Frankincense was the second gift mentioned. It was highly valued. A pure incense that was widely used throughout the Old Testament by the high priest as an integral part of worship, offerings, praise and thanksgiving to God. The role of the high priest in the Old Testament was effectively acting as mediator between God and the Hebrew people.
To be a priest was an act of service to the people, in regards to the things of God. The primary role of the High Priest was to offer acceptable sacrifices of various kinds on behalf of the people. To represent and carry the people into the most holy place, the presence of God.
Jesus is the great high priest forever. He is the mediator between God and humanity and through Him we can directly come into the presence of God. Into the most holy of place.
Hebrews 7:24-27 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
The students of the stars opened their treasures and gave the Eternal high priest frankincense in honour of the intercession He offers for them and all who receive Him.
the gift of myrrh
The third gift mentioned is Myrrh. It is costly a perfume and antiseptic used for embalming. That is embalming according to the Jewish ancient custom of binding the dead body with strips of linen. The only other time the same word for this substance Myrrh is mentioned in the New Testament is in the gospel of John. Where Nicodemus brought a mixture of Myrrh and aloes to embalm Jesus’ dead body for burial. Myrrh is not something you would traditionally give someone, especially a young child.
This is an extraordinary gift and a demonstration of a deep revelation that is direct from the heart of God. The gifts given by the students of the stars reveals the reason why the King of all creation came down from heaven to earth.
During Jesus’ time on earth He grew to be a man and revealed the love of God the Father in heaven. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, set the captives free and gave all of Himself.
Jesus subjected Himself to the full human condition to set us free. He was born, lived and died a brutal humiliating death on the cross and willingly became the sacrifice for all humanity. On the cross He defeated evil, death and all our selfish desires. He rose in a glorified human body, ascended into heaven and is now at the right hand of the Father.
The students of the stars opened their treasures and gave the king of all creation myrrh in honour of His sacrifice for them and all humanity.
The king of creation came as a baby from the heart of God the Father in heaven. Jesus is the greatest expression of God’s love and was given to us.
the king of all kings shares his crowns
He is the king of all kings that shares His kingdom and royal crowns with us. Jesus makes us kings to rule and reign with Him in this life and the next. He is the one to which every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of our Father.
He is also the eternal high priest who intercedes for us. Jesus shares His priesthood with us and makes us priests with Him. Where we can live in the most intimate and holy place, together with Him in the presence of God the Father.
Not only is Jesus the king of all kings and our eternal high priest, but He also is our perfect sacrifice. He came and willingly gave His life for us. Jesus physically died on the cross and defeated death, evil, selfish desires and the inequality of this world. Through His sacrifice and victory, Jesus made a way for us to be able to believe and receive deliverance from the bondage of death, selfish desires and evil. To be kings and priests with Him for all eternity.
Today as we celebrate the coming of our king, high priest and sacrifice, let us take a moment to reflect on the response given by the students of the stars. In honour of Him, let us open up the treasures of our heart, fall on our knees and worship Him. The Greatest Christmas Gift of all.