Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘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.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And 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.” After 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Matthew 2:1-12
Almost every nativity we see has three wise men there at the manger in various stages of worship. Along with the shepherds they have become a fixture in front lawns and over fireplaces around the world. The problem is it just did not happen that way. By the time the wise men arrive they find Mary and the baby Jesus in a house. So no wise men at the birth. It is possible they may have arrived up to two years after Jesus was born as Matthew later recounts how Herod had all the young males up to two years old slaughtered in order to make sure this new king would never threaten his throne.
But regardless of when these wise men arrived to worship Jesus I think Matthew’s point is that Jesus birth was not some secret only a few in and around Bethlehem knew about. Once again the heavens proclaimed God’s plan for us. These wise men were astronomers/astrologers, essentially the same back then, who had found in their watching the stars evidence that some grand event was to happen in Israel. Using this knowledge they set out on a long journey that led them to a house in Bethlehem where a young child lived. This child would grow to manhood and then by His teaching, His life and His death and resurrection would change the world and allow each of us to become children of God.
Have a blessed day,