“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”” Matthew 2:102 (NASB)
Who were these magi that came from far away to worship Jesus and why did they come anyway? They came as a lesson to us that Jesus’ coming as a human to earth was for the whole world. Promises for Israel and promises to the whole world. Though not all scholars agree on the timing of the arrival of the Magi from the East, they apparently came some time after the birth of Jesus. Jesus and Mary and Joseph, though still in Bethlehem, were now in a house (Matthew 2:11), and Jesus was called a Child (Matthew 2:9,11) rather than a newborn Infant,(Luke 2:12). Because traditional images and nativity settings as well as Christmas time programs merge the birth of Jesus with the visits of the shepherd and the magi we think it all happened rather close to the same time. How many came? We do not know. The three gifts given by the maji has become the reason we think of “Three Kings.” They were not even kings but were “A caste of wise men specializing in astronomy, astrology, and natural science.” Calling them “wise men” is a more accurate identification.