Pascha and the Secret of the Lord's Gifts

It is amazing how the journey of the Son of God on Earth for our salvation was designed from its beginning to its end. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea...behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying ‘where is He who has been born King of the Jaws?’ For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him. They came from far away having seen the extraordinary appearance of a star that signifies the birth of the Messiah and followed it until it stood over the place where the Babe Jesus was born. They then entered the place rejoicing, worshiped him and presented him their gifts: Gold (representing royalty), Frankincense (representing priesthood) and Myrrh (representing sorrow). The story then takes us through almost thirty three years of Jesus’ life until we meet him again during the Pascha week where we can clearly see the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Magi’s gifts.

jesusFirstly we see Him entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as if a king in a royal procession but at the same time in extreme humility, riding a donkey with no trumpets and being greeted by the insignificant in that society: the poor and the children. But at the end of the week, He rose again in great glory as we chant, saying Jesus Christ the King of Glory is risen from the dead, declaring His eternal nature. Secondly, as a Priest He entered into his temple at the end of the procession and drove out all those who bought and sold there and overturned the tables of the money changers and seats of those who sold doves and said to them ‘it is written that my house shall be called a house of prayer’. At the end of the week He presented his first and last sacrifice: His own body and His own blood, for the salvation of the world. Thirdly, as the anointed servant He started this week weeping on Jerusalem who rejected Him and did not know the time of her salvation. He also ended the week carrying the sin of the whole world in His body and accepting its bitterness for the sake of giving the world a new resurrected nature.

The concordance between the gifts Jesus was given at His birth and the events of the last week of His life on earth emphasizes who Jesus is and what His mission was. There was a star shining in the firmament and moving to guide the Magi to Him at His birth and there was an eclipse of the sun over the crucified Jesus, declaring the righteousness of the One who accepted to be counted with the thieves and to carry the sin of the world to show the way of salvation to the whole world. Finally, the King rises to raise us all with Him and to grant us membership and glorious eternity in His heavenly kingdom. In this way, just as he accepted gifts at his birth from the Magi from foreign lands as well as the Jewish shepherds, so on the cross He embraces not only the Jews but also the gentiles in all lands.

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in London is one of the oldest Coptic churches in the lands of the immigration, and one of the first to be supported and cared for by our beloved patriarch, HH the late Pope Shenouda III.

  • St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church
    Allen Street, Kensington
    London W8 6UX