Bible Readings: Matthew 2:11, John 18:33-37, 19:19
On coming to the house, (the Wise Men) saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Pilate summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place." "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
The visit of the Wise Men was significant on many levels. Being rich, educated and foreign, they contrasted with the shepherds who would have been poor, uneducated and Jewish. The Good News, from the very start, was indeed for everyone.
The gifts the Wise Men brought were also important, not just because of their value, the Wise Men had given the best they had, but because they each had a special significance.
The Wise Men had set out on their journey looking for a king, who they recognised in this child and to whom they bowed down in worship. Their gift of gold recognised the kingship of this baby. By contrast, Pilate also recognised the kingship of Jesus in a notice on the cross on which he had allowed Jesus to be executed. It is one thing to recognise the kingship of Jesus, it is another thing to bow down and worship him.
As I move into a new year, how might I express my worship to King Jesus? What might I offer in his service?
Have you ever wondered what Mary and Joseph did with the gifts that the Wise Men brought? I doubt they put them in a bottom drawer or in a bank vault. As a family they were soon to go into exile due to Herod’s paranoia and persecution. I wonder if they used the gold as currency to provide for them on their travels. Was this all part of God's provision for this precious family?
Thirty years later Jesus went on to say that we cannot serve both God and money. Our wealth is either our servant or our master. Had Jesus learnt from his parents to use the riches they had to fulfil God's purposes?
What is my relationship with the riches that God has blessed me with? How might God be calling me to use the resources I have in 2021?
Jesus, you are King of kings and Lord of lords. Help me to live my life in honour of this truth, and to serve you faithfully with all that I have and all that I am.
King of kings, Majesty.