Q. I thank the Lord for the joy that I always feel about your site. It is indeed blessed by the Holy Spirit because it makes us praise His glorious name always in the knowledge that we learned from your site.
I read one article from (another web site) stating that our Lord Jesus was probably 2 years old or at least near to that age when the Wise Men arrived. The writer cited Luke and Mathew as reference. Can you please explain further so that we can understand better?
What I understand before, few days after Mary delivered our Lord Jesus, the wise men came and then few days later they escaped to Egypt. But it contradicts to His dedication at the temple when He was 8 days old. Was He dedicated at the Bethlehem temple? Did they stay in Bethlehem long or return back? Did they return back to Nazareth after the dedication?
A. The idea that the Lord might have been up to 2 years old when the Magi visited comes from the fact that Herod had all the male babies under 2 years of age in Bethlehem killed in an effort to kill Jesus. Scholars don’t believe the visit happened on the night of the Lord’s birth because Matt. 2:11 says the Magi visited the Lord and his mother in a house. Matt. 2:13 says that they fled to Egypt after the Magi visited. But it couldn’t have been two years later. Here’s why.
According to Luke 2:2 Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to register for the census when Quirinius was the governor. He ruled from 6-4 BC. Herod died and was replaced by his son Archelaus in 4 BC. Matt. 2:19-23 says that Joseph Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt around that same time. So the Lord’s birth, the visit by the Magi, the flight to Egypt and the return to Nazareth all had to take place between 6 and 4 BC.
In Luke 2:21 we read that the Lord was circumcised on the eighth day, but this didn’t require them to go to the Temple. It could have been done in the home. In verse 22 it says that His parents took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord at the time of Mary’s purification. This would have taken place at least 41 days after the birth (Lev.12:3-4) and explains why they stayed in Bethlehem after Jesus was born. Bethlehem is only 5 miles from Jerusalem while Nazareth was a journey of several days.
Given all this, it’s most likely that the Magi arrived sometime shortly after Mary’s purification. Otherwise the family probably would have gone back to Nazareth.