Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Gifts of the Magi

A beautiful explanation of the strange and mystic gifts. To quote:
But amazingly, that may not be the most ominous part of this story.  Instead, go back and compare Isaiah 60:6Matthew 2:11.  Isaiah says that they'll be bringing gold and frankincense: gold, the gift you offer a King, and frankincense, the incense you offer to God.  Properly understood, Isaiah's telling us the crux of the New Testament.  A God-King will enter the world, and be worshiped by Jews and Gentiles alike.  The Magi are the first fulfillment of this, as they (quite literally) walk by faith to come and worship Jesus.  But look at the third gift which Matthew mentions: myrrh.  It's used for embalming (and in fact, Nicodemus uses it to embalm Jesus, in John 19:39).  It's a shocking gift, like giving a baby a specially-engraved tombstone.  And immediately we see the shocking twist of the New Testament: the prophesied God-King is coming, but He's not coming to rule over an earthly Kingdom.  He's coming to Die.

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