The coming of the Magi (the wise men) into Bethlehem from Matthew 2 is one of the most frequently pictured scenes in the Nativity story. They had come to give gifts to Jesus out of reverence and awe because they had discerned through the star that He was indeed the promised Messiah. However, there are two other aspects of this that we don't want to miss:
1. The Chief Priests and Scribes of the day seemed to have no interest in going to see if the Messiah claim was true. This is in keeping with one of the themes throughout the book of Matthew where the Jewish leaders failed to see who Jesus was while others understood. The pagan Magi got it, the Jewish Priests and Scribes didn’t.
2. Typically in that culture, gifts given at a birth would have been reciprocated. In the account of Matthew, Jesus never reciprocated the gifts from the Magi. However, we can look some 30 years later to a hill outside Jerusalem and see that Jesus reciprocates all gifts by the giving of Himself.
The Christmas story is filled with depth that goes beyond what we typically see. As you read the story this year be sure to look for the depth of the gospel found in the Nativity.