One of the most told and retold stories in the world is the story of Christmas. A major part of the story involves the wise men from the east.
The story usually includes the idea that there were three wise men, a number chosen mainly because they brought three different gifts. Scripture doesn’t say how many of them really came, but we know about the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
It is telling that the gifts they brought were the first gifts laid at the feet of Jesus on this earth. They were brought from people not even of the same nationality as Jesus. The gifts were brought a long distance and with much effort on the part of the wise men who had journeyed far to present them. These valuable gifts were gifts of affirmation of Jesus and His mission.
It is also telling that, at the end of Jesus’ life, there were also three gifts given at the feet of Jesus. While Jesus goes through His last hours before His death, three different times His lordship is affirmed.
The first is by the man who carried His cross. Most scholars believe Simon of Cyrene affirmed his faith in Jesus as a result of his encounter with Jesus and carrying His cross. Desire of Ages states Simon shared his compassion and became a believer that day.
In a second instance, one of the thieves on the cross beside Jesus proclaimed his belief in Jesus. Finally, at the death of Jesus, the Roman centurion proclaimed his belief in Jesus as Lord.
Six different gifts all from different and very diverse people and different parts of the globe. Six different gifts, some monetary and some words of affirmation that led others to faith in Jesus. Six gifts that were all dedicated to Jesus.
History tells us the world that Jesus came into was one filled with trouble. There was political strife, economic hardship, disease and discrimination. Sound familiar?
Yet at the beginning and end of Jesus’ life, we are reminded by these six gifts that, when we focus on Jesus and His gift to this troubled world, we are moved to give of ourselves through words of affirmation of the lordship of Jesus and of the monetary blessings He has given.
Both kinds of gifts help spread the gospel to a troubled world that needs to hear the story of Jesus told and retold to them. Let us all bring all of our gifts to Jesus each and every day.