Hello to you! Welcome back to Learning Together for December Week 2’s lesson. The three wise men are the subject of our story “The King of kings” and can be found on pages 192-199 in The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Weber.
Children: As I promised last week, let’s learn some interesting facts about the three gifts that were given to Jesus by the wise men.
Gold, like today, was highly valued in Jesus’s time. Other things that were valued were silver, livestock, servants, and gemstones, but gold was the most precious of all.
Frankincense is a kind of resin gum that is burned for its aroma. It is like a modern-day house freshener, but only rich people could afford to make their homes smell better. In ancient times, churches often used it when worshipping God. Nowadays we would call it incense.
Myrrh is an expensive, fragrant spice derived from the sap of a tree native to the Near East. Like frankincense, it can be used as incense, but in the ancient world it also was used as a perfume, anointing oil, and even a medicine. Myrrh was a key ingredient in the mix of spices that were used to prepare bodies for burial.
Do you remember from the first lesson that Joseph, Mary, and little Jesus moved to Egypt to be safe from King Herod? Well, it is thought quite likely that the family sold the three gifts in order to have money to escape!
Adults: The message of the wise men is an important one. The wise men, traveling from the East, came to give worship and give royal gifts. This is one reason why we give gifts as Christmas, but more importantly because Jesus gave of Himself so freely. He is the greatest gift of all!
Gold – the Kingship of Jesus. The magi’s gifts were not simply a demonstration of wealth – they conveyed deeper meaning. The gold represents Jesus’ kingship. As Daniel 7:13-14 explains, Jesus’ kingship transcends all earthly rulers – the Magi recognized that, and they came to worship him.
Frankincense – the Deity of Jesus. The frankincense represents Jesus’ deity. In the Old Testament, frankincense was traditionally burned in the temple as an offering to God (Leviticus 2:2). By bringing this gift, the magi affirmed Jesus was no ordinary man; he is both fully man and fully God. As Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power.”
Myrrh – the Death of Jesus. Commonly used to embalm bodies, the gift of myrrh foreshadows Jesus’ death. We learn in John 19:38-40 that Nicodemus brought myrrh at the time of Jesus’ burial, and after this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.
~This week’s prayer: I pray that I let Christ be my guiding star, as the three wise men did so long ago. Amen
There will be no Lesson 3 this month. On December 18th, there will be a brief Sunday School gathering right after the church service at 11:00 a.m. There will be no Sunday School following the December 25th church service.
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RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH
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