After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. - Matthew 2:11 NASB
Matthew is making the case that Jesus is the king of heaven. He’s going to focus on Jesus and his kingdom teaching, but before he gets to that he takes time to establish Jesus as the rightful king of Israel, and the rightful king of all the earth.
An entourage from the East come to visit Jesus sometime in the neighborhood of His second birthday. There’s lots of intrigue surrounding their visit. King Herod (in no way the rightful king) hatches a plot to capture and kill the child king. Angelic visits give them lucid dreams warning them of his intentions.
But the end of it is that these foreigners come from afar and bring gifts to the king. They give him four things. (Were you thinking three?)
1 - Worship
These travelers give the child Jesus their worship. I suppose you could argue that all the gift giving could fall into the category of worship, but it explicitly tells us they “fell to the ground and worshiped Him.”
Does that strike you. Stop and picture that in your mind. Stand up and act it out. Go ahead—I’ll wait while you experiment with it a bit.
Do you see them down on one knee?
Did they drop to both knees?
Did they kneel slowly, or dive down fast.
Where they on their face before this toddler?
The Greek word here 'pipto' has among its meaning to fall down prostrate. Prostrate means lying face down on the ground.
I’ve never seen that on a Christmas card - have you?
Sometimes we get them kneeling, but the picture I get when I read what the Bible actually says is three grown men, who were deserving of honor themselves lying on their faces before a young child.
How casually we approach the thrice holy Son of God.
2 - Gold
Now there’s an a gift suited for a king. The gold given is specifically an acknowledgement of Jesus’ royalty. How these Magi knew is a mystery, but they came seeking a king, and gave him this gift of gold as an honor to His majesty.
3 - Frankincense
While gold points to Jesus as king, frankincense points to His deity. His kingship knew not earthly limit. These wise men traveled from afar not to give gifts to a foreign dignitary. They came all that way to acknowledge Him as their own king—king of all the earth—king of ALL. Frankincense says Jesus is king of heaven and earth.
4 - Myrrh
This last gift posed a mystery to the givers, no doubt. Though very valuable, it was associated with death, not birth. Certainly not the sort of gift you would normally give a child, nor a gift you would give a king. It was a prophetic declaration. Jesus would live a life pointed directly at death. He came to die, and the Myrrh given to Him in His first days foreshadowed that death.
The wisemen’s worship began with the giving of their lives to seek Him, falling on their faces to honor Him, giving of the substance to speak into His life, and declare His majesty, deity, and His moons path to all who would hear them.
Will you fall on your face before Him?
Hail Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
See you again soon.