Matthew 2:10-11 “When they say 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.”
When God manifests himself incarnated in Jesus Christ, the only appropriate response is a deep soul-shaking life-altering worship!
[Epiphany means “manifestation“. In the historic Church, it is a recognition of the divine manifestation of God in Jesus Christ as witnessed by the Magi. The Western Church celebrates this Epiphany with a yearly feast on January 6.]
These Magi from the East (likely Persia) were distinguished leaders from outside nations. Quite obviously they were experts in astronomy and (interestingly) were also aware of God’s covenantal promise of the coming Messiah. So they cleared their calendars, dropped their existing plans, and allowed this disruption to commandeer their current circumstances.
More importantly, these Magi came to worship the Christ-child; the “king of the Jews” (vs.2). And upon arriving, they worshiped emphatically. The text tells us in vs.10 literally that they “rejoiced exceedingly-exceedingly with mega great joy!” (double emphasis intended).
Not only that, but the gifts that the Magi presented to Christ (the Greek word “doron” translated gifts is also used in Mt 5 – the offering placed on an altar and later in Heb 5 and 8 – the gifts/sacrifices performed by a priest) have strong symbolic significance as well.
Gold represents kingship. Frankincense (incense) represents priesthood. Myrrh, an embalming ointment, represents death. Within these gifts, we recognize the multi-faceted work of our Lord Jesus: He is our KING, he is also our Priest who performed sacrifice on our behalf, and he himself IS the Sacrifice who gave his own life on the cross in our place.
And let’s not miss the surprising aspect of this Epiphany visit of the Magi for they were “outsiders” to the Jewish religious system and were from other nations.
But this too was God’s design for from the beginning of the covenant promise (seed form Gen 3, more clearly in Gen 12, 15, 17, 22, etc.) we read of God’s promise to bless ALL peoples/nations/tribes through Abraham -> David -> Jesus, who is the ultimate fulfillment of the promise.
So now, in Christ, none are outsiders, none are excluded due to background, race, national or geographical heritage. God has appeared in Christ to fulfill these promises to all! And at the end of time, the vision of John in Rev 5:9 will indeed come to ultimate fulfillment where Jesus Christ, our Lamb, slain on our behalf will have “purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
Worship him! For in Epiphany, we remember God manifested himself to us in Christ, our Lord.