Matthew 2:7-12 (NKJV)
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, �Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.� 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
The wise men appeared to inquire of Christ. These men were Gentiles and not from the commonwealth of Israel. It was these Gentiles who came to ask about Christ. These men were scholars. They came from the east, possibly from the land of Arabia. The presents they brought were the products of that country; the Arabians had done homage to David and Solomon as types of Christ. Jethro and Job were of that country. These men had followed a star to reach their destination. Stars were commonly worshiped in this area and even their gods were named for the stars. The stars that had been misused came to be put to the right use, to lead men to Christ. Now approximately 2 years later they were in the land where they expected The Christ to be. Their inquiry was made to the king of the land in expectations the king would know where �The King of the Jews� would live. Herod though feared their inquiry for it meant his throne might be in jeopardy. He sought to have The Christ child disposed of; but these wise men became aware of Herod�s intent and departed back to their country after paying homage to Jesus.
Appearing this time of year are manger scenes depicting the birth of Christ. Often there are three wise men depicted presenting gifts to Jesus in the manger soon after his birth. From the historical documents this is incorrect for the wise men appeared around 2 years after the birth of Christ, which would have supported Herod to then be the king. These manger scenes also depict three men for the three gifts that were given, but some ancient documents say there were possibly 14 men. Travel during this time was difficult and often done in large groups so that they could protect and support one another. Most likely this group was closer to the fourteen and more than the three.
If you are playing Christmas trivia and asked who was present at the manger it was Joseph, Mary, Jesus, shepherds of the area and the animals. The wise men were not present as we have been made to believe. If asked how many wise men were there, the answer is unknown, but probably more than three. If asked where the wise men presented their gifts it was at the home of Jesus.
We always have to be careful in life to ensure we know the truth. Often things are presented as the truth when they are only close representations of the truth. Jesus said, �I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.� At least we have Jesus who is the truth, presents the truth and lived by the truth. Always be ready to put your trust in Jesus -- a truth we can always believe in.