Daily Notes & Observations: “The Magi Came to the House” (Excerpt)

October 3

The Magi Came to the House

Daily Notes & ObservationsWhen December comes, it is common to see nativity scenes displayed in front of houses, places of worship, and other locations. These typically include depictions of the baby Jesus lying in a manger with Mary and Joseph, the animals, the shepherds, and the magi (wise men) gathered around. There is at least one problem with this — the magi were not present at the manger.

After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:9-11).

The shepherds were certainly present while Jesus was lying in a manger (Luke 2:15-16). But the magi did not arrive until after the Child had been moved from the manger into a house.

This is a relatively minor detail. But depicting the magi at the manger is not the only inaccuracy that is widely accepted by the religious world about the birth of Christ.

  • Many people imagine there being three wise men who visited Jesus. Yet the Bible does not tell us the number of magi who came (Matthew 2:1).
  • The Bible does not tell us the date of Jesus’ birth. Furthermore, the date that is usually commemorated — December 25th — does not fit with the events that transpired. Jesus was born during the time of year when the shepherds would be “staying out in the fields” with their flocks (Luke 2:8). The shepherds would not have been out like this in the middle of winter.
  • The Scriptures nowhere teach that there is to be a special day set aside to observe the birth of Christ, whether it is December 25th or some other day. There is but one memorial we are instructed to observe — the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) — which focuses on the death of Christ.

Though the fact that the magi came to Jesus in the house — rather than the manger — is a small detail, it ought to remind us of the importance of being careful with how we handle God’s word. Do not assume that what you think or what you have been taught is necessarily correct. Instead, search “the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Daily Notes & Observations contains 365 articles like the one above – one article per day that will take you through the Bible in a year. Be prepared to start your study on January 1st – order your copy today!

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