How Old Was Jesus When The Wise Men Came?

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Jesus is one of the most well-known and influential figures in history, with billions of people around the world following his teachings. His birth, life, and death continue to fascinate and inspire people today, nearly two thousand years after he walked the earth.

One event that has captured the imaginations of many is the visit by the Wise Men, also known as the Magi or Three Kings, who traveled from the East to see the newborn Jesus. According to the Bible’s Gospel of Matthew, they followed a star until it led them to Bethlehem, where they found the baby and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

While this tale is familiar to many, there is some confusion about how old Jesus was when the Wise Men arrived. Some people assume that he was still an infant, while others believe he may have been several years old. The answer is not clear-cut, and scholars and theologians have debated the issue for centuries.

“The important thing to remember is that regardless of Jesus’ age at the time of the Wise Men’s visit, their arrival signaled the beginning of a new era and a powerful message of hope and love.”

In this post, we’ll examine the evidence surrounding Jesus’ age during the visit of the Wise Men, exploring various theories and interpretations. We’ll also delve into the significance of this event and what it might mean for those seeking spiritual guidance today.

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Understanding the story of the Wise Men

The story of the Wise Men, also known as the Magi or three kings, is part of the Nativity story in the Christian Bible. According to the Gospel of Matthew, these wise men from the East came to Jerusalem asking where they could find the King of the Jews whose star they had seen in the east. They were directed to Bethlehem, where they found the baby Jesus and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Wise Men in the Bible

The Bible doesn’t give us many details about the Wise Men, such as their names or their exact origin. We do know that they came from the East, which likely refers to Persia or Babylon. The number three probably comes from the three gifts they brought with them. In early Christian art, they are often depicted as being of different ages and races, representing the unity of humanity before Christ.

The Wise Men’s visit to the infant Jesus carries deep significance. It was a sign that Jesus was not just for the Jewish people but for all nations, as represented by the Gentile visitors. Additionally, their offering of expensive gifts acknowledged Jesus’ royal pedigree and divinity. Lastly, their worship of the newborn Jesus reinforces his identity as the prophesied Messiah or savior of the world.

The symbolism of the Wise Men’s gifts

The gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh carry symbolic meanings that foreshadowed events in Jesus’ life.

  • Gold: This precious metal represents royalty and wealth. By offering it to Jesus, the Wise Men recognized him as a king, possibly even as the awaited “King of the Jews.” Gold also symbolizes purification, like when it’s refined by fire, foreshadowing Jesus’ divine mission to purify humanity through his sacrifice.
  • Frankincense: This fragrant resin was used in religious ceremonies and considered a luxury item. It symbolizes divinity and holiness, acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God. Frankincense also represents the power and efficacy of prayer, foreshadowing Jesus’ role as our intercessor before God.
  • Myrrh: This aromatic resin was typically used for embalming the dead. Its bitter taste also made it a traditional medicine to reduce pain. Myrrh’s symbolism includes death and suffering, making it an appropriate gift given to the newborn who would grow up to suffer and die for the salvation of humanity.

The historical context of the Wise Men’s visit

The story of the Wise Men’s visit raises questions about when exactly this event took place. Scholars have debated its historicity since there are no clear references outside of Matthew’s Gospel or evidence from contemporary historians.

“It’s hard to give a precise date because we don’t know which astronomical phenomena or celestial body they associated with the birth of Christ”, says Alison Griffiths, chairwoman of the astronomy department at Wellesley College.

Some clues suggest that the Wise Men likely visited several months or even years after Jesus’ birth. We must remember that traveling was slow and dangerous during those times, not to mention coming from faraway lands. The fact that King Herod ordered all male infants two years old and under to be killed (Matthew 2:16) implies that Jesus wasn’t a newborn anymore but possibly closer to two years old.

Regardless of the exact timing, the Wise Men’s visit affirms the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and can save all people, regardless of their race or origin.

What does the Bible say about Jesus’ age?

The birth of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events not only for Christianity but also for the entire world. It marks the beginning of a new era where hope, peace, and salvation are made possible through the coming of the Messiah. One question that often arises when discussing Jesus’ birth is how old was He when the Wise Men came to visit Him? The Bible doesn’t explicitly state Jesus’ age during this event, but we can make some educated guesses based on contextual clues.

The lack of explicit mention of Jesus’ age in the Bible

It’s important to note that there is no specific mention of Jesus’ age when the Wise Men visited Him in the Bible. In Matthew chapter 2, verse 1, it simply reads: “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.” From this statement alone, we cannot determine Jesus’ exact age at the time.

This lack of detail may have been intentional, as Jesus’ age wasn’t the primary focus of the story of the Wise Men’s visit. Instead, the narrative emphasizes their adoration and worship of Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The possible age of Jesus based on contextual clues

Although the Bible doesn’t provide an explicit answer regarding Jesus’ age when the Wise Men came, we can infer His approximate age based on surrounding passages and historical context. Most scholars agree that the Wise Men likely arrived in Bethlehem between six months to two years after Jesus’ birth.

One piece of evidence to support this timeline is found in Matthew chapter 2, verses 16-18. After the Wise Men failed to return to King Herod with news of the location of Jesus, he ordered all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem to be killed. This suggests that Jesus was likely more than a year old during the Wise Men’s visit.

Additionally, Luke chapter 2, verse 39 states: “And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.” This verse indicates that after presenting Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem (which occurred forty days after His birth), Mary and Joseph traveled back to Nazareth. This could mean that Jesus may have been as much as six weeks old during this journey.

Based on contextual clues in the Bible, we can conclude that Jesus was likely around one to two years old when the Wise Men came to visit Him. While this information may not be essential to our understanding of the story of Jesus’ birth, it can help us gain a deeper appreciation for the historical context surrounding this momentous occasion.

Calculating Jesus’ age based on historical events

The census of Quirinius and its implications for Jesus’ age

The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was born during the time of a census conducted by the Roman governor of Syria, Quirinius. This has led scholars to try and determine when this census took place in order to accurately estimate Jesus’ birth year and therefore his age.

According to Dr. William Craig, a theologian and philosopher, there were two censuses that occurred during Quirinius’ tenure as governor – one in 6 AD and another around 10-11 BC. However, the latter date is more commonly accepted among historians because it better aligns with other known historical events, such as King Herod’s reign discussed below.

Using the 10-11 BC census date, we can estimate that Jesus would have been born between 4-6 BC, assuming he was not older than two years old at the time of the census. Therefore, if the wise men visited shortly after Jesus’ birth, as described in Matthew’s Gospel, then Jesus would have been somewhere around two years old or younger when they arrived.

The reign of King Herod and its impact on Jesus’ age

Kingship was an unpredictable business in ancient Israel, and Galilee alone had several rulers over the course of just a few decades. But it was King Herod who ruled most of Palestine from 37-4 BC, and whose reign overlapped with the estimated time of Jesus’ birth.

In fact, according to the Gospel of Matthew, it was King Herod who ordered the massacre of all boys under the age of two in Bethlehem, in an attempt to eliminate the “King of the Jews” whom the wise men had told him about. This story implies that Jesus was no more than two years old at the time.

To add to this evidence, historians note that King Herod’s death occurred just after a lunar eclipse in 4 BC, which places a cap on the latest possible birth year for Jesus within the generally agreed upon timeline.

Therefore, using both the census of Quirinius and King Herod’s reign as reference points, scholars can conclude that Jesus was likely born somewhere between 4-6 BC and would have been around two years old or younger when the wise men came to visit.

“There has been excellent work done by modern chronologers…which demonstrates that Herod died in 4 B.C., not 1 B.C.” – Dr. William Lane Craig
“Herod’s death in 4 B.C. serves as an important anchor point for estimating other dates related to the life of Christ.” – Answers in Genesis

Controversies surrounding Jesus’ age and the Wise Men

One of the most fascinating stories in the Bible is the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. However, the question of how old Jesus was when the Wise Men came has been a subject of debate among scholars and theologians for centuries.

The debate over the actual year of Jesus’ birth

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that the Wise Men visited Jesus in Bethlehem and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The story implies that the Wise Men arrived shortly after Jesus was born, but it doesn’t give an exact date or even a specific year.

According to the Gregorian calendar, which is used by most of the world today, Jesus was likely born between 7 BC and 2 BC. However, some historians believe that this timeline is not accurate.

John Hagee, a prominent American pastor and author, claims that the true year of Jesus’s birth was actually 4 BC. In his book “The Three Heavens,” Hagee argues that King Herod died in 4 BC, which would mean that Jesus must have been born sometime before then.

Other scholars have different ideas about the timing of Jesus’s birth, and there may never be a definite answer on this issue.

The question of the Wise Men’s knowledge of Jesus’ age

If we assume that Jesus was born around 4-7 BC, then how old would He have been when the Wise Men came? Some estimates place His age at two years old, while others suggest that He could have been up to four years old.

Some people wonder how the Wise Men knew where to find Jesus if He was several years old. In his book “The First Christmas,” Marcus Borg suggests that the Wise Men may have been astrologers who analyzed the movements of stars and other celestial bodies in order to predict the future.

If this is true, then it’s possible that the Wise Men were able to pinpoint the location of Jesus based on their readings of the stars. However, there is no direct evidence in the Bible to support this theory.

The role of astrology in the Wise Men’s visit to Jesus

Some Christians argue that astrology goes against Biblical teachings, and therefore the Wise Men could not have been following a star to find Jesus.

In response to this criticism, theologian N.T. Wright explains that the story of the Wise Men is actually an example of God using pagan beliefs to reveal Himself to people who might not otherwise know Him.

“It would be quite natural for wise men from the east to come looking at the heavens…what Matthew is saying is that they found what every human being longs for—meaning, purpose, direction—in a place they never expected…” -N.T. Wright

This interpretation suggests that even though the Wise Men were not Jews or followers of Christ, they were led to Him by divine intervention.

The significance of the Wise Men’s gifts in relation to Jesus’ age

One interesting aspect of the Wise Men’s visit is the gifts they brought to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These three items were very valuable in ancient times and were often given as tribute to kings and rulers.

Many Christians believe that these gifts had spiritual symbolism as well. Gold is associated with royalty and represents Jesus’s status as the King of Kings. Frankincense was used in Jewish religious ceremonies, and some scholars believe that it signifies Jesus’s role as a priest. Myrrh, which was used in embalming rituals, is often interpreted as a symbol of Jesus’s eventual death and resurrection.

The significance of these gifts may relate to Jesus’s age at the time of His visit from the Wise Men. Some theologians suggest that the choice of presents could indicate knowledge on the part of the Wise Men that Jesus would grow up to become both a king and a religious leader.

The question of how old Jesus was when the Wise Men came remains unresolved. However, this story remains one of the most compelling accounts in the Bible, and it continues to inspire Christians and non-Christians alike with its themes of faith, sacrifice, and divine guidance.

Implications of Jesus’ age on the Christian faith

The significance of Jesus’ age for his role as Savior

How old was Jesus when the wise men came? The biblical account states that they visited him while he was still a young child and not yet two years old.

Jesus’ age at the time of this visitation has significant implications for his role as Savior. It shows that even from a very young age, Jesus was recognized by others as an extraordinary figure who would go on to accomplish great things. This recognition foreshadows the belief among Christians that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and that he came into the world with a purpose to save humanity from sin.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:7

The theological implications of Jesus’ humanity and divinity

At the core of Christian faith is the idea that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. This understanding of Jesus has deep theological implications that impact how Christians think about their relationship with him.

One of the key aspects of Jesus’ humanity is that he experienced the same struggles and difficulties that all humans face. He knew what it meant to be tired, hungry, and lonely, and he faced rejection and betrayal just like anyone else. But Jesus also showed that it was possible to live a life free from sin, giving hope to those who seek to follow in his footsteps.

At the same time, Jesus’ divinity sets him apart. As the Son of God, Jesus had access to divine power and knowledge that allowed him to perform miracles and change lives. By becoming flesh and living among us, Jesus showed that God was not distant and unknowable but rather present in our world, offering hope to those who seek it.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” – Colossians 2:9

The role of Jesus’ age in understanding his teachings

It is often said that wisdom comes with age, and many people believe that this applies to spiritual wisdom as well. As such, some may wonder whether Jesus’ youth made him less qualified or wise enough to teach about religious matters.

Jesus’ age at the time of his ministry did not diminish the power or truth of his words. Rather than relying on the authority of old age or tradition, Jesus spoke with an authority grounded in his divine nature. His teachings still resonate deeply with Christians today, millennia after they were first spoken.

Furthermore, the fact that Jesus was only in his thirties when he died underscores the brevity and urgency of his message. It reminds Christians that life is precious and that there is no time to wait when it comes to following Jesus and embracing his message of love, forgiveness, and salvation.

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:29-30

The impact of Jesus’ age on the Christian calendar and liturgical year

In addition to its theological significance, Jesus’ age at the time of the visitation also has implications for how Christians celebrate his life and teachings.

For example, the season of Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation in which Christians reflect on Jesus’ birth. It is marked by the lighting of candles and the reading of scripture that points to the coming of Christ. This period culminates in the celebration of Christmas, when Christians around the world remember the humble birth of their Savior.

The knowledge that Jesus was still a young child at the time of the visitation also highlights the early beginnings of his mission on earth. It reminds Christians of the importance of nurturing faith from an early age and the significance of children in God’s plan for salvation.

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3

The significance of the Wise Men’s visit to Jesus

The story of the Wise Men, also known as Magi or Three Kings, visiting the baby Jesus is a significant event in Christianity and has been celebrated for centuries. The arrival of the wise men was seen as a sign that Jesus was not just any ordinary child but someone of great importance.

The fulfillment of prophecy in the Wise Men’s visit

Matthew 2:1-12 describes how the Wise Men came from the east to Jerusalem seeking the one who had been born king of the Jews. They followed a star to Bethlehem where they found the baby Jesus and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This event fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah, such as Isaiah 60:3 which says “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Furthermore, Psalm 72:10-11 states “May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts.”

The universal significance of the Wise Men’s homage to Jesus

The Wise Men were non-Jewish astrologers who recognized the divine nature of Jesus’ birth, even though they did not have access to Jewish teachings or prophets. Their recognition of Jesus as King of the Jews symbolizes the universality of his message and purpose. As the gospel of Matthew highlights, this visit suggests that salvation through Christ is open to all people regardless of their race, color or creed–a radical idea at the time it was written, especially since many Jewish traditionists believed that only those circumcised could be saved.

The connection between the Wise Men’s gifts and Jesus’ mission

The gifts which the Wise Men brought (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) hold significant symbolism in the life of Jesus. Gold represents kingship, while frankincense is associated with the holy priesthood and worship, and myrrh with death and burial– foreshadowing how Jesus will lead as a king, offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins and be resurrected to life again on the third day.

The implications of the Wise Men’s visit for the early Christian community

The Wise Men’s homage to baby Jesus points to his preeminence over all other authorities in the world. This gave encouragement and hope to the early Christians who were undergoing persecution from both Roman authorities and Jewish leaders. During this time period, Christians experienced severe trials and tribulations just for believing in Jesus Christ; thus, the arrival of powerful men like the Magi seeking the infant King would have strengthened their faith and given them the assurance that God has not forgotten them.

“The seekers of light are always drawn to the divine… Even if an individual comes from a different culture or religious background, they can still recognize the signs of divinity present in others.” – Mata Amritanandamayi

The Wise Men’s visit to Jesus was far more than simply bringing him presents. It represented the fulfillment of prophecies, universal significance, connection to Jesus’ fate and provided hope to early Christians. Their timeless story serves as a valuable reminder that even today people should remain open to the presence of God in our lives, no matter where we come from or what religion we practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of the wise men visiting Jesus?

The visit of the wise men holds great significance in the Christian faith. It represents the recognition of Jesus as the King of Kings and the Messiah. The wise men’s visit also foreshadows Jesus’ mission to bring salvation to all people, not just the Jews. Their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh symbolize Jesus’ kingship, priesthood, and sacrificial death. Ultimately, the wise men’s visit confirms Jesus’ divinity and his role in fulfilling Old Testament prophecies.

How did the wise men know where to find Jesus?

The Bible does not provide a clear answer to how the wise men knew where to find Jesus. Some speculate that they may have been guided by a supernatural star, while others suggest that they may have received a divine revelation. Regardless of how they knew, the wise men were led to Bethlehem, where they found Jesus in a manger. Their journey to find the Messiah demonstrates their faith and dedication to seeking the truth.

What gifts did the wise men bring to Jesus?

The wise men brought three gifts to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold symbolized Jesus’ kingship, frankincense represented his priesthood, and myrrh foreshadowed his sacrificial death. These gifts were not only valuable but also symbolic of the significance of Jesus’ mission on earth. The wise men’s gifts also demonstrated their recognition of Jesus’ divinity and their willingness to honor him as the Messiah.

What does the Bible say about the age of Jesus when the wise men visited?

The Bible does not provide a specific age for Jesus when the wise men visited. However, based on the events that are described in the Gospel of Matthew, it is believed that Jesus may have been around two years old at the time. This is based on King Herod’s order to kill all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem, which was prompted by the wise men’s visit. While the Bible does not provide a clear answer, the age of Jesus at the time of the wise men’s visit holds significant theological implications.

What is the history and background of the wise men?

The wise men, also known as the Magi, were likely from Persia or Babylon. They were learned men who studied astronomy, astrology, and other sciences. Their visit to Jesus was significant because it demonstrated that Jesus’ birth was not just a local event but a global one. The wise men’s journey to find the Messiah also foreshadowed the spread of Christianity to the Gentiles. While the Bible does not provide much information about the wise men, their visit has become an important part of the Christmas story and Christian tradition.

How did the visit of the wise men impact the life of Jesus and his family?

The visit of the wise men had a significant impact on the life of Jesus and his family. It confirmed Jesus’ identity as the Messiah and the Son of God. The wise men’s gifts also provided financial support for Jesus and his family during their time of need. Additionally, the visit of the wise men prompted Joseph to flee to Egypt with his family to escape King Herod’s wrath. This fulfilled Old Testament prophecies and protected Jesus’ life until his eventual return to Nazareth. Overall, the visit of the wise men played a crucial role in Jesus’ early life and ministry.

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