The Visit of the Wise Men
In Matthew chapter 2 and verses 8,11,13,14,20 &21 the Inspired writer is addressing Jesus as a young child eight times. Therefore the Lord was not a baby when the wise men visited Him with their gifts. But certainly, He was well under two years old in His earthly abode when the wise men saw Him.
This becomes obvious because king Herod decreed children under the age of two to be slaughtered. Thus though we are not told at what age the wise men saw Jesus I may guess that he was certainly above one year old.
But below two years old because our Lord is being repeatedly addressed as child Jesus not baby Jesus by the Inspired writer. Therefore the picture of our Lord which we see in Christmas cards showing wise men falling down or kneeling before Him while Lord Jesus lying in a manger has no scriptural basis.
1 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,
2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
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 Slaying of the Infants
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted Because they are no more.”
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.”
21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Therefore, the wise men arrived about one to two years after Jesus’ birth. One year is probably a better estimate since the wise men needed time to travel from the east to find Jesus. But Matthew is clear that Jesus was in a house by the time the wise men arrived. God wanted these wise men to visit Jesus.
Conclusion: Since gold, frankincense, and myrrh were highly prized by kings and emperors, these magi gave Jesus three very expensive gifts. The gift of gold was a king’s gift and Christ is our King. Frankincense was a worthy gift for Christ since He was the anointed One who deserves our worship. Myrrh was a prophetic gift because Jesus would die for the sins of the world.
As was customary for royal visits, the wise men came bearing treasured gifts intended to honor the king. The three gifts had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death. … Sometimes this is described more generally as gold symbolizing virtue, frankincense symbolizing prayer, and myrrh symbolizing suffering.