What The Wise Men Teach Us About Worship


I have read and heard on numerous occasions the story of the Magi bringing their gifts to the young Jesus.  The wonder of these rich and wise men traveling for miles and following a mysterious star has produced many a good story.  Yet in our familiarity of it, we often miss its impact.

This past Sunday, a brother in Christ shared during our worship meeting some of the significance of the gifts of the Magi and how they displayed a greater meaning.

The life work of these Magi was to study the stars and their meanings.  They understood that God had written His story in all of creation so that for the one with spiritual understanding or faith, their own story could and can be understood in His story.

You see, our story is found in His story — in the One who made us and ultimately knows the purpose for which we were created.

As I listened to this brother share, I immediately realized something significant I hadn’t seen in the story before.  It is the fact that these gifts represent a key part to what constitutes worship or what worship looks like.

First, the Magi saw Jesus.

Worship first starts with actually seeing Jesus.  This is more than physical sight but involves a spiritual awareness or recognition of Who Jesus is.

Faith is the “door” to our spiritual sight.  God shines His truth into our hearts, and we must respond by faith to it.

Seeing happens when the hearing of the gospel is made effective by the Spirit.  — John Piper in Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ

Then the Magi gave the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Christian brother shared how gold was a gift for royalty and represented the wise men’s understanding of the importance of this child to which the star led them.

  • Gold was used for gifts for royalty.  The Magi’s gift of gold symbolized their recognition of Jesus’ divinity and royalty as the “heir” to David’s throne and Son of God.

Worship recognizes the “kingship”and divinity of Jesus.

The Christian brother shared that frankincense often represents the prayers of the saints and that our prayers and lives are to be a sweet savor of worshipful service before God.

There are several possible different meanings to the Magi’s gift of frankincense, but perhaps one of the best meanings is that of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth and His position as the Great High Priest.

  • Frankincense relates to worship and the service of the High Priests that was a continual worship before the Lord in the temple and tabernacle.  The Magi’s gift of frankincense acknowledged Jesus’ position as the Great High Priest who would offer his life once and for all of mankind.

Worship recognizes the holiness of Jesus, as God the Son.

Our lives are to be a service of continual worship before God.  That’s what true ministry is: the results of being in fellowship with God produces a work within us that is His work.

The Christian brother shared that myrrh represents suffering and was used to embalm the dead.  It was prized for its scent and preservation qualities.

  • Myrrh represents the suffering.  The Magi’s gift of myrrh represented the priceless value that Jesus’ death on the cross means to all of mankind.  He offered His life, and His offering was not only accepted and cherished by God the Father, but it is also a sweetness to those of us who believe.  It is of priceless and matchless worth!

Worship recognizes the glorious work that Christ did on the cross on our behalf.

Christ gave His all so that we might have His all!  Our inheritance is matchless!

Worship recognizes the gift of lavish love that Jesus is to a hopeless, suffering, sinful world.

His glory is displayed through our joy in it.  …we were made to experience full and lasting happiness from seeing and savoring the glory of God. — Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ

The cross is the place where we first see Jesus — where we recognize the glories of Christ in the light of the Gospel.

This Christmas, may we truly see Jesus, and may our worship “spring forth” from that glory.

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