Are you sure?
Three kings? You’ve heard the line We Three Kings – and know they were named Melchoir, Balthazar and Gaspar? “Well, there are no kings in the Gospel story of Jesus’ birth,” says Viola, who has also written bestselling books Jesus Manifesto, From Eternity to Here, Revise Us Again, and Reimagining Church. The word “magi” does not appear in the Bible, either, nor do the names of the visitors. Furthermore, we don’t really know how many there were – just that they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. They “were not kings as commonly understood,” notes Viola. “They were oriental priests schooled in esoteric arts, dream interpretation, astrology, reading animal parts to predict the future, etc. They were consultants – counselors and advisers to royalty. Their search for Jesus could only bring them to Jerusalem. They needed divine revelation to take them to Bethlehem. The Magi came to honor the new born King were probably in shock when they discovered He would be born in the place where animals were kept. Also, we are not sure how many of the Magi visited Bethlehem to honor Jesus. The text only says that they brought three gifts. It does not say that there were three Magi. In addition, Matthew tells us that they didn’t arrive until after Jesus was born. They may have arrived and/or stayed well after the birth since Herod was concerned with male infants that were up to two years old—so much so that he ordered their deaths.”