St. Andrews-Cheney Memorial Church
January 1997


Gifts for a King

On January 6, Epiphany, we think back on the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem to see the infant Christ. The wise men came bearing gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Down through the centuries a symbolic significance has been attached to these three gifts. The original interpreter we do not know. Such interpretations go back as far as the early church fathers. 

The wise men brought gold. It was customary in some eastern countries to bring a king a gift when entering his presence. Gold is the most valuable of metals and the most fitting gift for a king. 

Jesus is the King. He is the King promised by God through the prophets. As Isaiah put it:

For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
   and his name will be called
"Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Of the increase of his government and of peace
   there will be no end,
upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom,
   to establish it, and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
   from this time forth and for evermore.

(Isaiah 9:6,7)

There in the manger a King was born who will reign for all eternity. We need to acknowledge His kingship and become loyal subjects of our rightful King. 

The wise men brought frankincense. Frankincense was used in the Temple services as a fragrant incense. The Temple priests burned this incense daily, therefore, frankincense is a gift for a priest. 

Jesus Christ is a Priest. Christ fulfilled and replaced the Old Testament priesthood. The Scriptures tell us, "The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:23-25) 

With Christ as our permanent High Priest we can with complete confidence come to God. "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

The wise men brought myrrh. In the ancient world myrrh was used to embalm the dead. A strange gift to bring to a new born babe.

But even in the cradle Christ's destiny was set. He came to die and to offer His life as a ransom for many. This too was clearly predicted by the prophet Isaiah and who wrote: 

Surely he has born our griefs
   and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
   smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
   he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
   and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
   we have turned everyone to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

(Isaiah 53:4-6)

Christ's death was an atoning death which pays for the sins of all who repent of sin and place their faith in Him for salvation.

Three gifts were brought to the baby Jesus. Those gifts signify in a sense who He is and His great work. Christ is the King. Christ is the Great High Priest. Christ is the Savior who died for our sins.

Frank M. Levi
(Scripture quoted from RSV)


Parish News

After many months of work the church has been granted a permit to start a preschool. The school will be called St. Andrew's Preschool and is scheduled to open on January 6, 1997. Be in prayer that the school will be a means of outreach to the community.

The Feast of St. Andrew, November 30, was well attended. The service of Evening Prayer was preceded by a pot luck dinner which was enjoyed by all. The offering went to World Relief to help feed the hungry.

A Preschool Open House was held on Sunday afternoon, December 8, from 2-4pm. Community families turned out to see the school and to register for classes beginning in January.

Happy New Year!

Do you wish for a holy New Year?
   Then sit at the Master's feet,
And ask for His Holy Spirit
   To guide your faltering feet
Then resting upon His promise,
   Without a doubt or fear,
You may step out with gladness
   Into the fair New Year.

For the word of the Lord is precious,
   The word of the Lord is true,
And all that the Lord has promised
   We know he will surely do.
His promise is, "I will keep thee"
   His promise is, "I will guide,"
So with New Year is sure to be happy,
   With such a Friend at your side.

(From "The Grace Recorder" January 1981 issue of the newsletter from Grace Church, Scranton, PA.)

Missionary of The Month

Judy King
Bible Translation/Discipling
Summer Institute of Linguistics
Caixa Postal 431
69000 Manaus, Amazonas

New Year

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