Three Magi

Matthew 2: 11

Then they opened their treasures and presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

In western culture, the gifts of frankincense and myrrh hardly seem on par with the gift of gold. Is this, then, a dialogue on valuable gifts? Or, perhaps, invaluable gifts? It turns out that historically, frankincense and myrrh were at least as valuable as gold and many historians believe them to have been more valuable than gold.

I got this from Dr. Axe regarding these ancient oils. Visit his website at

Myrrh is a resin, or sap-like substance, that is one of the most widely used essential oils in the world. Historically, myrrh was used to treat hay fever, clean and heal wounds and stop bleeding. Studies conclude that myrrh strengthens the immune system with its antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

A 2012 study validated myrrh’s enhanced antimicrobial efficacy when used in combination with frankincense oil against a selection of pathogens. Researchers expressed that myrrh oil has anti-infective properties and can help to boost your immune system.

What’s more, new research indicates that these two essential oils are even more effective in combination. Two things of interest I noted as I researched frankincense in myrrh are that they are useful in treating blood disorders. In fact, I was surprised how often blood came up in the articles I read. Secondly, myrrh was used as an embalming fluid. Both of these facts seemed to foreshadow Jesus’ future. How poignant is it that the baby Jesus would be given a gift commonly used in embalming? The two were also ingredients of the incense Jews burned in the temple.
Frankincense and myrrh were very expensive and highly sought after. The trees which produce these resins could not be grown in Israel. Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt greatly sought the two, one article claiming that conquest of foreign lands was sometimes motivated by the desire for the plants which yield the sought after resins. Since the trees would not grow in all climates, the Egyptians would seize territories where they would grow so that they could have their own supply of frankincense and myrrh rather than having to pay exorbitant prices for it.

Today, many medicinal uses have been identified for these two oils. Some believe the potential benefits number in the hundreds. They can be applied directly to the skin but are often burned. Inhaling the essential oils is another healing methodology which has to be a point of interest when considering that the ancient Jews used these two resins in the temple incense. So, going to church really could be good for your health!

I hope as you read the Christmas story this year you will have a better appreciation of how valuable the gifts of frankincense and myrrh really were. It turns out that the offer of gold was likely the lesser of the three gifts. Frankincense and myrrh were very expensive, extremely hard to get and medicinally beneficial. wealth alone, did not secure the valuable oils. Three “Gentile” magi travelled from afar and gave Jesus invaluable gifts. Perhaps the fact that three non-Jewish people travelled a long distance to take the Messianic baby such valuable gifts was a prophetic message in itself.

Christmas Joy for All

Matthew 2: 10

And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

The second chapter of Luke also tells the Christmas story. In the tenth verse the angel said, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people.” Hallelujah! The good news of Jesus’ birth is a message of great joy for all people.

Sometimes we think and act like our fellowship with the Lord is a private club only for those with special membership. We begin to divide the world into we, the saved, and they, the unsaved. There is something very interesting revealed in today’s passage, though. The first worshipers of Jesus were heathen. However, they received the good news of Jesus and rejoiced exceedingly.

The Magi were from the east, perhaps Babylon. They were star worshipers, probably worshiping the sun and moon. However, when they saw the Christmas star, they abandoned their home land and journeyed to Jerusalem. There they found the baby Jesus. Matthew 2: 11 says that when they saw the child, “they fell down and worshiped Him.” As we tell the Christmas story we should remember that Jesus belongs to people from every land. His birth was for all people. Every nation will bow down to him and we can also expect them to receive this good news with great joy. He is not just our savior; he is the savior of the world.

Jesus went to his own people but the Jews didn’t receive him. Fortunately for most of us, we gentiles were invited to the wedding feast. We need to keep that in mind as we encounter people who are not yet Christians and as we consider the blessing of Jesus’ coming this Christmas. He came to and for all people. We need not divide ourselves into the “us” and “them” category because it was “they” who traveled many miles, perhaps over 100 in order to worship the newly born King of the Jews when the Jews didn’t go across town to take him expensive gifts. The heathen magi received the new king with great joy and bestowed honor on him.

So remember, the first worshipers of Jesus were Gentiles. There are many people who are not Christians right now who will receive the good news with great joy. Jesus’ birth is such good news for all people. There is no separation. We are all the beloved of God. The only difference in us versus them is time. We received our salvation yesterday while they will receive theirs tomorrow. The important thing is for us all to receive this gift of the child king with rejoicing. Let us not lose our joy over what Jesus has done for us. Let us all worship him with great joy.

Read the whole story at Matthew 2: 1- 11