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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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 . . .”—Matthew 2:11 (NKJV)
Every detail surrounding Christ’s birth is profoundly significant. Nothing is superfluous. Just like a masterpiece painting comprised of so many brushstrokes, they all add up to convey something precious and powerful. We do well to behold the splendid beauty of the main subject. Sometimes; however, we need to stop and dwell on the more subtle details in order to appreciate the full glory of Christmas.
This is precisely what we’re going to do for the next three days as we carefully examine each of the three gifts that were given to Jesus by the wise men. One by one, we will see they represent a special significance, adding depth and definition to the portrait of the person and work of Christ.
Our first gift to consider is gold. At this point in the Christmas narrative, Jesus is no longer a baby, but more of a toddler. Imagine how odd it must have looked for these wise men, who had travelled such a far distance from the exotic east, to kneel before a toddler and present Him with gold. It all seems so out of place! After all, what’s a toddler going to do with gold? But the gift of gold was perfectly appropriate for a couple of reasons.
On the practical side of things, this gift would make it possible for Jesus’ family to embark on an adventure. They didn’t know it yet, but God was about to call them to relocate to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). If you’ve ever moved, you know how expensive it can be, and a journey like this would require financial resources well beyond this couple’s means. But God, knowing the need to come, provided the gold that would make it possible to move forward in His will for their lives.
Another reason was simply that this was the perfect gift. Keep in mind that these wise men didn’t see a toddler, they saw a King . . . the King. We know this because when they first arrived in Jerusalem, they stated they came to honor the “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). In their minds, there was no question about the identity of Jesus, He was the divinely chosen and appointed King of God’s people. He was divine royalty, and all power and authority ended with Him.
Only a gift of the greatest value would be fitting for the King of greatest authority, which is why they gave Jesus the gift of gold. And although much has changed since biblical times, one thing that hasn’t is gold’s status as the most precious substance on earth. Personal fortunes and global economies are based on gold’s value. Even the term “gold standard” reminds us that gold is the pinnacle of worldly value and wealth . . . nothing is higher.
In giving this gift, the wise men were making a profound statement. It was a declaration that they saw, accepted, and submitted to Jesus as the ultimate power and authority on earth. Their gold was but a faint reflection of His surpassing value, but at the same time it was the closest thing they could offer to honor His majesty and supremacy.
Our familiarity with Jesus can often lead us to lose our sense of His supremacy. Intimacy with the Almighty is a wonderful dimension of our relationship with Him. But it can also lead to us losing perspective of His surpassing value; that even as a toddler, He was greater than gold!
May we reclaim this sense of awe, wonder, and reverence by reminding ourselves of the kingly gift of gold that He was given.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.