Worshippers from the Orient
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding joy. 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, frankincense, and myrrh” —Matthew 2:10-11.
Matthew graphically describes for us the attitude of the Wise Men from the East when, after their long and tedious search had ended, they found Him Who was born the King of the Jews: “They saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him.” They had followed the light of the star which had directed them to the exact place where Christ lay. So miraculous was the performance of the star, so convincing to them the factual fulfilment of prophecy, that they could do nothing but fall before the infant Lord to do Him honour and to adore Him. Their attitude was one of worship; their first impulse was to express that worship, and to express it in a tangible way.
There are many, very many, who have been led to Christ not by the light of a miracle star but by the light of the Word of God. All such should manifest, in like manner, the spirit of worship. Each one saved by divine grace should constantly remember that he has been saved, first of all, to worship and adore the Saviour and the God and Father Who sent Him into the world to redeem. Each one also should remember that he has been saved to sacrifice and to serve. Of the Wise Men we read, “They … worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” These men from the Orient first worshipped, and then in that attitude, presented their gifts. Their great sacrifice was made consequent to their bowing before the infant Messiah in reverent adoration.
Some have spiritualized the three component parts of this remarkable offering, and have suggested that the gold speaks of Christ’s divine glory, the glory of His kingship; the frankincense, of His fragrant life; the myrrh, the balsamic juice of the Arabian myrtle used by embalmers, of His death. This One born King of the Jews was yet to lay down His life. How extraordinary that the first material sacrifice offered to Him should, in an allegorical way, set forth His origin, birth, and death!
The prophet Isaiah predicts: “They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord” (Isa. 60:6). One is attracted by the parallelism between Isaiah’s statement and Matthew’s account of the offering given to Christ at His birth. Nevertheless, the omission of the myrrh in Isaiah’s prophecy causes us to enquire into its absence.
Even a cursory reading of Isaiah’s sixtieth chapter will show that this prediction reaches farther into the future than the first advent of Christ, it reaches to His second advent, His coming, not in lowliness but in glory and great power.
Our blessed Lord came once as the King of the Jews, but was rejected and crucified; He is coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to be crowned in glory, and to be honoured and worshipped by all nations. He will come to Jerusalem, the city of the Great King and not to Bethlehem. Then shall be enacted the scenes that Isaiah saw by prophetic vision. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee … The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side… . They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord” (Isa. 60:1, 3-6).
The Lord Jesus at Bethlehem was the attraction in the past which drew the men from a far-away land to Himself; He, in the future, will be the attraction which will draw men from every nation to Jerusalem to worship Him there. May Christ, in this present time, be the great magnet to draw our hearts from the world to His blessed feet where we may worship, sacrifice, am serve Him, our glorious Sovereign.