The Three Wise Men or The Magui
We really don’t know the names of the magi because the Bible doesn’t tell us. In fact, the Bible is silent on how many wise men visited Jesus. However, tradition has it that the wise men who came to seek and honor the infant Jesus were named Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior. Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar started the gift-giving custom of Christmas by bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child on Epiphany, the day on which the infant was presented.
It is a common misconception that the wise men visited Jesus at the stable on the night of His birth. In fact, the wise men came days, months, or possibly even years later. That is why Matthew 2:11 says the wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house, not at the stable.
We assume that there were three wise men because of the three gifts that were given: gold, incense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). However, the Bible does not say there were only three wise men. There could have been many more. Tradition says that there were three and that their names were Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but since the Bible does not say, we have no way of knowing whether the tradition is accurate.
The wise men, also known as magi, were men belonging to various educated classes. Our English word magician comes from this same root. But these wise men were not magicians in the modern sense of sleight-of-hand performers. They were of noble birth, educated, wealthy, and influential. They were philosophers, the counselors of rulers, learned in all the wisdom of the ancient East. They were certainly men of great learning.
The word Magi comes from the greek word 'magos' (where the english word 'magic' comes from). Magos itself comes from the old persian word 'Magupati'. This was the title given to priests in a sect of the ancient persian religions such as Zoroastrianism. Today we'd called them astrologers. Back then astronomy and astrology were part of the same overall studies (and 'science') and went hand in hand with each other. The magi would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously.
They had seen an unusual new star in the sky, and knew that it told of the birth of a special king. No one really knows what the new star is the sky was, and there are many theories including comets, supernovas, a conjunctions of planets or something supernatural!
They would have also probably been very rich and held high esteem in their own society and by people who weren't from their country or religion. The wise men were guided to look for the King of the Jews by a miraculous stellar event, the "Star of Bethlehem," which they called "His star" They consulted with King Herod in Jerusalem concerning the birth of Christ and were directed to Bethlehem They followed God's guidance joyfully .
This is how they are often described:
Gaspar (or Caspar), who has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green cloak and a gold crown with green jewels on it. He is the King of Sheba. Gaspar represents the Frankincense brought to Jesus.
Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold cloak. He is the King of Arabia. Melchior represents the Gold brought to Jesus.
Balthazar,who has black skin and a black beard (or no beard!) and wears a purple cloak. He is the King of Tarse and Egypt. Balthazar represents the gift of Myrrh that was brought to Jesus.
Herod asked the Wise Men to find Jesus and tell him where he was, not so he could go and worship him as he said, but so he could kill him! He thought that Jesus sounded like a new King that could come and take his power away.
When the Wise Men found Jesus and Mary, they would have been living in a normal house in Bethlehem, because by this time Jesus would have been aged between one and two. Then they gave their gifts to him.
The gifts seem quite strange to give to a baby, but Christians believe that they had the following meanings:
Gold: is associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.
Frankincense: is sometimes used in worship in Churches and showed that people child worship Jesus.
Myrrh: is a perfume that is put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and showed that Jesus would suffer and die.
The gifts are also all things that come the east of Israel in Arabia.Their gifts for Jesus were costly, and they worshiped Him.
When they were about to go to tell Herod where Jesus was, God warned them in a dream against returning to Herod, so, in defiance of the king, they left Judea by another route so Herod could not carry out his horrible plan.