I’ll admit, I’m not that into Christmas music. There are some Christmas songs I love, and others I could survive without (looking squarely at you Mariah Carey!). One of the songs on my naughty list is We Three Kings of Orient Are. I’m can be a stickler for biblical and historical accuracy, and that song is FAR from accurate. For starters, there were not three men, they were not kings, and they weren’t from the Orient (look it up if you need to!). Don’t even get me started on these individuals having names or being present at the manger, as they likely showed up TWO YEARS after Jesus was born. Inaccuracies of the song aside, we can learn a lot from the Wise Men, especially the three gifts they gave Jesus. Over the next three weeks, I want us to look at the significance of these gifts. Each gift symbolizes one of the ways Jesus came to be with and for us. By understanding the significance of these gifts we can gain a deeper understanding of how great the gift of a king was, is, and will always be.
The first gift the Wise Men gave Jesus was gold. Gold was viewed as a gift for kings, and symbolized that the Wise Men saw Jesus as a king. In fact, when they arrived in Israel they asked to see “him who has been born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2). Jesus, however, came to earth to be more than just a king among other kings. He came to be the Lord and ruler of all.
He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. 1 Timothy 6:13-16
Paul lays out three big differences between God and other kings.
- God is immortal: Every other human ruler will die and remain dead. No matter how great they are an how much they accomplish death will ultimately defeat them. Jesus, however, came to defeat death. The cross was only a necessary and temporary set-back, for three days later he rose again. Jesus is therefore not a king for only a matter of decades, but eternally.
- God is invisible: Before Jesus, no one could see God. Because of his greatness, He was way beyond our understanding. In Jesus, however, God chose to be known by us. He chose to interact with us to both teach us and save us.
- God is unapproachable: This is a common attribute of kings. Us lowly commoners cannot simply approach them. Even today there are complex protocols involved with meeting a king or queen, involving bowing, using certain titles, etc. Similarly, God is unapproachable by sinful humanity. Our sin separates us from Him. HOWEVER, because of the gift of Christ God is approachable we can know God now and through eternity because of Jesus. He is not only our King, but also our Father and friend.
Jesus is a King who lives forever and breaks down the distance between us and God. Through Him we come to know God intimately and personally. Through Him we become part of God’s family forever. What a gift to have the King of all kings forever on our side!