Matthew 2: 1-12
 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (KJV)
THE MAGI (THE WISE MEN) Visit Christ
First a bit of background. Magi were skilled in astronomy and astrology. Many were also involved in occult practices and were especially known to interpret dreams. Because of their knowledge in mathematics, history and the occult, they were often called “wise men”.
Daniel 1: 4, 6, 19, 20 tells us that the Magi of Persia were considered more knowledgeable in religion, medical and intellectual areas than the wise men of Babylon. He tells us that the Magi who visited Jesus were not from the group of Babylon, but from the east and were true God-loving men. Nebuchadnezzar finds that Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) from the group of East Wisemen were “ten times better” than all the wise men in his service.
Very little else is known of the Magi who visited Jesus. The Bible, does NOT tell us the number, their names, how they travelled or where they travelled from, other than the east.
Over the years, false information has been added so often by songs, pictures, stories, etc. that many people now take this information as being factual.
We have the song of “We Three Kings” that say they are kings. The Magi were not kings, however they probably had good standing in the courts.
Song continues … from the Orient afar.
The Orient is not mentioned. Yes, the Bible tells us from the east but not a specific area. Also the Orient is far east of Bethlehem and the Bible does not say from the far east, just the east.
Some Church’s believe the three Magi’s names to be: Melchior (Persia), Caspar (India) and Balthasar (Arabia) as being those who visited Christ. The Bible does not make a suggestion of any kind regarding the names of the Magi.
Many believe there were only three wise men because the Bible only mentions three gifts offered to Christ. We jump to a conclusion, assuming that each offered one gift, hence three Magi.
There may have been other gifts presented but those particular gifts held special meanings for royalty and so were included in scripture.
Gold – Royalty (Precious metal)
Frankincense – Priesthood (Perfume or incense)
Myrrh – Death – (Anointing oil)
These were the standard gifts offered to honour a King.
The nativity. It is viewed depicting three wise men (with their gifts) at the birth of Christ, standing along side Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. This gives us the impression that the Magi were present at Jesus’ birth, when most likely they were not. Perhaps the nativity scene was originally set up in a way that could simultaneously encompass all of the special visitors.
Scripture tells us that the Magi saw the Star when Jesus was born. By the time they were ready to leave their own country and because of the distance to travel to Jerusalem, it was possibly months or perhaps closer to one year or two, before they arrived in Jerusalem.
Upon their arrival, they were allowed to have an audience with Herod, the king. We are told that the Magi asked Herod where they could find the “King of the Jews”. They must have been surprised that Herod didn’t know anything about this King’s birth, especially since the birth happened in Herod’s own kingdom.
Herod, asked his own scribes, chief priests and wise men about the King and was told that the birth of Jesus was recorded in the Old Testament, by the prophet Micah.
(Micah 5:2) “but thou Bethlehem Ephratah, through thou be little amount thousands of Judah, yet out of there shall come forth unto me, that is to be a ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from old, from everlasting. (KJV)
Then Herod asked the Magi exactly when the star had appeared in the East to them. This gave him a good estimation of Jesus’ birth.
Herod then sent the Magi to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.”
When the wise men headed towards Bethlehem, they rejoiced as the star re-appeared and continued to lead them. It stopped above the house where Jesus was with Mary.
The Magi went into the house and as soon as they saw Christ, they fell down and worshipped Him and then presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
When they were ready to leave, God told the Magi, in a dream, not to go back to Herod but to go home a different route. They obeyed God! This shows us that the Magi had full obedience to God over obeying a king’s command.
Most likely, on the day the Magi began their journey home or perhaps within a few days, Joseph had a dream. God told Joseph, to take his family and flee at once to Egypt and stay there until God calls him out. Joseph has shown, on many occasions, his obedience to God, by always doing exactly what God commanded, with no questions asked. This time was no different. Joseph and his family left at once, for Egypt.
In my previous post – An Invitation to a Very Special Birth – We see that the shepherds (considered lowly and who had nothing to offer as gifts) held a place of honour in Christ’s birth, being the first to meet and worship the King. As far as the Bible tells us, the shepherds were the only visitors to the manger on the night of His birth.
Whereas the magi were considered highly esteemed, and when they arrived, at the house where Jesus was living, they came bearing very expensive special gifts for Christ. These wise men had travelled a very long distance for the sole honour of worshipping Jesus.
Regardless of their rank or gifts, both groups received the knowledge that the child born, was the prophesied Messiah. Both the shepherds and the magi come before Christ with the perfect gift of all; to praise and worship Him, “The King of the Jews”.
Father, when I started reading the Christmas story this year, it was like I was reading it for the very first time. So many new questions that I just had to study it further. I am thrilled and honored to pass along all that you showed and taught me about the birth of Jesus.
Thank you God for the gifts you give me on a continual basis. The knowledge, the belief, the faith and the understanding of who you really are. The joy, the happiness, the kindness, love for all men and of course the greatest love of all – YOU!
Thank you Father for the gift of your Son; Jesus. I ask that all people (who don’t know Jesus) would open their hearts and would see that he came to this earth to teach us about your perfect love and to be the Saviour for the world.
In the precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus,