Why Did the Wise Men Bring Gifts to Jesus?

The scriptural account surrounding Jesus’ birth tells of wise men traveling a great distance from the east to present the young Christ child with gifts. What is the reason for imparting gifts to a small child? Who did these men believe they were honoring?

Confused customs

First of all, the Bible does not tell us the exact number of wise men, and they were not present for His birth in a manger as is so often depicted in nativity scenes every December.

Matthew 2:1, 11 shows that the young child Jesus was already in a house by the time the wise men visited and offered their gifts. “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. … 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.”

This is only one illustration of how Christmas customs have actually distorted the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Other articles on this website demonstrate this fact in much more depth. Be sure to read some of these eye-opening assessments of commonly held traditions.

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