GIFTS FIT FOR OUR KING
In the Season of Epiphany, the account of the Magi’s visit features most prominently in the Western Church. Coming from the East, these wise men bore precious gifts of great significance, each reflecting the unique nature of the Christ child: gold was a precious metal fit for royalty and reflected Christ’s kingly identity; frankincense, a precious ingredient used in worship, spoke of Jesus’ priestly role; myrrh, a substance used in embalmment, pointed to His sacrifice which would be offered once for all upon the cross for the sins of all mankind. Indeed, as we contemplate these gifts and their significance, we are reminded about allegiance, confidence and gratitude. Jesus is the King of kings - to Him alone we pledge allegiance. He is the high priest who continues to make intercession for us before God - in Him alone we place our confidence. Jesus is the one perfect sacrifice which atones for our sins - to Him alone we are forever indebted and grateful.
But there is another point in this account which we in the Western tradition must not miss. The Reformation teaching on salvation by faith, while liberating us from human striving, has made us averse to good works. Our emphasis on God’s grace has excused us from any expression of gratitude. Yet the account of the wise men and their gifts forces us to confront our false religion. Gratitude forbids us to come empty-handed before Jesus. So as you reflect on the account of the Magi this Season of Epiphany, what gifts will you offer your king?
Rev. David Lee