Today is January 6th, Epiphany, which marks the visit of the Magi to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
What do we know about Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar anyway? They arrived at the manger about the same time as the shepherds. They gave the Christ Child gold, frankincense and myrrh. They were Persian kings.
Now wait a minute. Some say the kings were called Apellu, Amerus and Damasius. There may have been 12 of them, not three. They may/may not be astrologers. They didn’t arrive in Bethlehem for months or even years after the birth. What?
These men are only mentioned in Matthew, chapter two, and they are neither named nor numbered. Some Bible versions do mention astrologers. No mention of camels. They might have walked! They asked Herod for directions (Matthew 2:1-2). They continued to follow the star, found the young child in a house, not a stable. (Matthew 2:11) Then they rejoiced, worshipped and gave those gifts. (Matthew 2:10-11). Christ may have been almost two years old when they visited (Matthew 2:16).
And verse 16 also tells us that they left mayhem behind them.
Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars (Matthew 2:16, MSG).
Well now, another reason to read the Word for ourselves, right?
Prayer: Lord, please continually point out truth, especially when we lean on tradition instead. For the truth of Christ. Amen.