THE VISIT OF THE MAGI
1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel’”
7Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
9After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.
10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Matthew elaborates over the initial events in the life of Christ. The visiting of the Magi, and the sacrifice of the children by Herod the Great are some of them, and the most polemical.
Modern secular Historians and some ‘Christian’ scholars attribute these two narratives to later non-apostolical additions around the 2nd century at the earliest. They argue this, because most secular sources give the life of Herod between 12BC and 4BC; which falls out of the time frame of the life of Jesus.
Other minority of historians, like W.E. Filmer and Andrew Steinman sustain the death of Herod to be between 1BC and 1AC, which would coincide with Jesus’s birth.
But regardless, while fallible science discus a decision, false Christians would be inclined to say that the Gospel of Matthew is corrupted with these additions, denying the visitation of the Magi and the killing of the innocent as legends. While true Christians would be determined to support the divinely revealed scriptural account, and leave History aside on this topic, as being in error.
But apostle Matthew took the time to mention names, to settle the historical evidence of his narrative. In this case, an undisclosed number of Magi, or Zoroastrian priests of Iran, came to visit the announced King of the Jews, whose signs of his birth they had noticed by watching the stars, and having a previous knowledge of Jewish beliefs. This should not be a surprised because since the Babylonian captivity, the knowledge of Judaism and the Tanakh had extended over all the known world, and specially among those who were dedicated to religion.
They must have been righteous men, according to their light of knowledge (Romans 2:15-16), because they believed and followed the star that guided them to first Jerusalem and then to the house where the Holy Family was living, some time after his birth, most probably after two years (Matthew 2:16).
The Magi, did not come to see the Son of God in his divine nature, but the human Messiah, King of Israel; and they gave Him presents fit for a King:
Gold, as a sign of respect.
Incense, as perfume for royal dignity;
and Myrrh, for the day of his Anointing as King and Messiah.
They paid homage to Him, and gave them these presents, without knowing that prophetically they had acknowledged Him, as King, God and Man.
Gold, for as King.
Incense, for his divinity;
And Myrrh for the day of his death.
However, whoever meets God face to face, is never the same again. If we see GOD THE FATHER, we die; but if we see the visible human face of God, in Christ, our souls are confronted with its Creator, and a change is always experienced by the power of the encounter. In this case, the Magi were changed in their souls and were spiritually born again, and only then we can appreciate God guiding them not to return to Herod, as they had promised him, but to save the King of the Universe, by returning through a different way across the desert.
This day, these Magi converted to our Lord Jesus, who was a small child, and returned to their lands to share the good news to their own people.