But Wait, There’s Myrrh!

www.bible.com/1713/mat.2.10-11.csb

Three gifts arrived at the home of Jesus’ family 2000 years ago. Whether they came from three “Kings” is impossible to tell. We don’t how much of each of deposited, or if several brought the same thing. Tradition says “three” Magi were involved, but that is based entirely on the three kinds of gifts. (Note: There is a church which claims to hold the three skulls of these men, but collecting relics was a very popular pastime 17 centuries ago.)

All three items were extremely valuable: gold for obvious reasons but the others for the difficulty in extracting them and their fragrance. Frankincense was often used for anointing royalty while Myrrh was usually employed in funerary practice. All three were royal gifts, fitting the narrative that these Magi believes they were looking for the next “King of the Jews”. Odd that we don’t read anything about them coming for any of the Herods. They show up for this one King and disappear.

There is some speculation that Daniel’s role as leader of the Wise Men of Babylon had something to do with their expectation of this King. If right that would be a remarkable amount of star-watching and expectation. But perhaps they were showing up the priests of Judaism by doing so, since the Jews practically had the address of Jesus’ birthplace in their OT Scrolls. Daniel has predicted to the year when Jesus would appear, and Micah predicted the place He would be born. Anyone with reasonable math skills should have known to set up a lookout post in Bethlehem. Even when the Magi appear looking for the child, the priests take little time reporting Jesus’ prophetic birthplace.

Did they think they had plenty of time before they had to get ready? Jesus’ own people, who had specific prophetic indications when Jesus would appear, failed to be ready, and had to be reminded by Gentiles. Hmm. Sound familiar?

Many who allege to belong to Christ today are not ready for His return. They know He is coming. But are they ready with their life and work? Do we not know that we will be judged not only for accepting or not Jesus Christ, but also by the works we have done for Him? Christian consider this a warning. He is coming back for you. You need to be ready. Your life needs to reflect your passion for the Savior and your gratitude for your salvation. Getting baptized is not something to check off the list and wait for pickup. It is a necessary part of Jesus moving into your life. You need to grow and mature in faith so that at His coming He may say to you, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

The Magi brought gifts to the child Jesus. What spiritual offerings do you bring?

God bless you today.

Seeing God

www.bible.com/1713/mat.5.8.csb

What a fantastic promise! God only permits Himself to be seen rarely, and then only in a limited capacity, such as when Moses saw His “back” on Mt. Sinai. Yet Jesus said to Philip at the last supper that if you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father. Philip has asked him, “Show us the Father, and that will be enough.” Would that be enough to convince you that God is real, if He showed Himself to you? Surely we know God is love, and He demonstrates His love in this: He gave His Som for the sins of the world. If we have put our faith in Jesus’ saving work, His death, burial and resurrection, then surely we have seen God.

Strangely this verse seems to play along similar lines. God is not a god of magic, nor does He respond or comply with spells or rituals. God does as He sees fit. No one can make Him do anything. This making yourself pure in heart (which you cannot do) is not going to force God to reveal Himself. Rather, we receive purity because we receive the cleansing of Christ’s blood upon our heart. We cannot hope to be pure otherwise. We can only do this by faith, and receive it by faith and baptism. The promise for those who receive such faith is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Those who become pure in heart in this way allow for the Spirit of God to dwell in you. You will see the house of God every time you look in the mirror. You will be in God’s presence continually, because He is continually in you. The Holy Spirit is the ever-present proof of our eternal home.

The Holy Spirit is the penultimate Presence, heralding our ultimate reception into the presence of God when we die and meet Him face go face. Those who are pure in heart will see God.

Do you need to brush up on yo it purity today? Does sin mar your heart? Confess your sins today and receive relief from your guilt. Jesus has already paid for those sins and welcomes you back with open arms. Won’t you come and be pure? May God bless you today.