"Kings shall fall down before Him and gold and incense bring; All nations shall adore Him, His praise all people sing. To Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend; His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end.
"O'er ev'ry foe victorious, He on His throne shall rest, From age to age more glorious, all blessing and all-blest. The tide of time shall never His covenant remove, His name shall stand forever—that name to us is Love."
A little child may be shy about greeting visitors to the family home unless, of course, those visitors bring gifts of toys or treats. Shyness changes to an excited welcome as the child eagerly reaches for the gifts! The guests may express their hopes for the child's happiness and for a successful future career.
Was the Holy Child Jesus delighted to see and touch the rich gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh brought by distinguished visitors to Bethlehem? Did the wise men express hopes for His future happiness and success? The wise men were scholars who studied the stars and apparently knew the prophecy of a star and a king's scepter to arise in Israel (see Numbers 24:17). After a brief detour to Jerusalem, the wise men found the King of the Jews. Their visit was foretold by the prophet Isaiah: "Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising ... they shall bring gold and frankincense" (Isaiah 60:3, 6b).
Would there be joy and success in the Child's future? After all, He was a King. But this King was crowned with thorns before He was crowned with glory. Jesus was lifted up on a cross before He ascended to take His throne. Future joy and exaltation followed only after He lived as "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3b). In the eyes of the world, Jesus appeared to be a failure, suffering a shameful death nailed to a cross. His career path was spelled out in His Name—Jesus—which means "God saves," because He was born to "save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21b).
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus was "o'er ev'ry foe victorious." The King of the Jews worshiped by the wise men is the King of kings and the Lord of all nations. The King who once received glittering gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh now reigns "from age to age more glorious, all blessing and all-blest." His kingdom is "still increasing, a kingdom without end." Like the wise men, we worship the King whose Name expressed His future and ours, because He saved us from our sins. We will praise His Name forever, a Name that "to us is Love," a Name that is spelled J-E-S-U-S.
WE PRAY: Jesus, You love me and You saved me. You are my King. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Hail to the Lord's Anointed," which is number 398 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you enjoy the smell of incense? Why do you think it was considered a luxury in the ancient world?
2. Do the wise men's gifts say anything about what they thought of Jesus?
3. Can we bring gifts to Jesus today? What would you like to offer Him?
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