Matthew 2:1-12 / Three Men and a Baby

Posted on November 29, 2015


This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of November 29, 2015. This message deals with the significance of the gifts that the wise men gave to Christ. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Mat 2_1-12

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Matthew 2_1-12 Outline


Matthew 2:1-12 / Three Men and a Baby

Okay, three men and a baby isn’t entirely accurate since we don’t know how many wise men there were, and Jesus was likely about 2 years old when they found him, so perhaps “some wise guys and a toddler” would have been a better title. In any case lets take a look.

The Bible doesn’t tell us who these wise men were, or more specifically, where they came from.

There has been much speculation, but the only thing we know is that they came from the east. Most likely Arabia or Persia. Babylon was heavily influenced by the Jews.

We don’t actually know how many wise men there were. We suppose three because they brought three gifts.

We don’t know exactly when they found Jesus. Per clues in Scripture, it was probably as late as two years after His birth.

They found a child in a house, not a babe manger.

Matthew 2:11

Luke 2:16

Herod, through the wise men, determined the time that the star appeared.

Matthew 2:7

Because of the timing given him by the wise men, Herod ordered the death of all male children two years and under.

Matthew 2:16

The one thing we can be sure of, is that these men were not Jews, they were Gentiles.

The gifts given by the wise men were very valuable, and were almost certainly the means by which Joseph sustained the family during their flight into Egypt.

But probably the most significant thing about the gifts, is how they spoke to the identity of Jesus.

No metal has been more frequently mentioned in OT writings than gold, and frequently the word “pure” and “refined” are associated with it, in reference to its use in the tabernacle.

Of course, Jesus is pure, perfect and without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

2 Corinthians 5:21

Gold is symbolic of royalty, and is a gift fit for a king.

Jesus is not just king of the Jews, but the King of Kings.

Revelation 19:16

Frankincense was used by the priest in the tabernacle.

It was an ingredient used in the altar of incense.

Exodus 30:34

The sweet smelling smoke represented prayers ascending to God.

Jesus is, of course, our High Priest, who makes intercession for us.

Hebrews 6:20

Hebrews 7:25

Frankincense was also sprinkled on the grain offering, just before it was placed on the altar.

Leviticus 2:1-2

The grain offering was not for atonement, but an act of worship.

The grain offering consisted of fine flour – flour that was beaten and refined to remove any imperfections.

It also included oil, which symbolizes both the Holy Spirit, and God’s anointing.

Jesus is the Bread of Life, whose body was anointed, beaten and crucified.

As the High Priest, He made intercession, even while on the cross, and that intercession continues today.

He was the perfect “grain offering” and the object of our Worship.

Myrrh was placed on the cloths used to wrap bodies for burial to help prevent the smell of decay following death.

The Wise men presented this gift to Jesus as a representation that He would one day die.

The gift certainly seems to convey the fact that Jesus was born to die.

“Gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, myrrh for one that was to die – these were the gifts of the wise men, and, even at the cradle of Christ, they foretold that he was to be the true King, the perfect High Priest, and in the end the supreme Savior of men.”

There was one last gift given that day, and that gift was worship.

What an indictment it was upon the religious leaders of the day, that the birth of the Jewish Messiah was noted by Gentile foreigners!

Where were the scribes? Where were the chief priests?

They were in Herod’s palace seeking favor with the political power from a man who within a few short years would be dead.

While at the same moment the King of the entire universe, the King of Kings, had come to earth. Talk about misplaced priorities!

Are you going to be like those religious leaders this year, or is your Christmas centered on the worship of Christ?

Is God on your Christmas list this year?

You may not be able to give gold, frankincense or myrrh, but worship is the one gift that you can give to God this year.

Make sure He is more than just a name on your list, make sure He IS your Christmas.