What The Wise Men Forgot

What The Wise Men Forgot December 24, 2012


I saw the image above on Facebook and wanted to share it here. The Gospel of Matthew depicts the magi coming to Bethlehem when Jesus is around 2 years old. For all their reputation as “wise men” they didn’t exactly bring practical gifts. Whether he might have already been potty trained is more of a type of question – Luke depicts the young Jesus as ahead of the curve. And the figures in the image look a bit more like the traditional depiction of Luke’s shepherds than Matthew’s magi. But would shepherds watching their flocks by night have diapers with them?

At any rate, I thought that the image was more than just an amusing bit of Christmas humor. For many Christians, it can be a decisive test of whether or not they are heretics. If the idea of Jesus needing diapers, or having bowel movements, is offensive or outlandish to you, your Jesus is a figure of your imagination and not a real human being. And that is directly contrary not only to the Chalcedonian Creed, but more importantly, the historical evidence.


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  • courtobserver

    I’ve always wondered, if you accept the concept of the Holy Trinity, who was answering prayers and ‘watching’ over the world when Jesus (God) was 2 years old or, for that matter, in the womb? Could he have had a lapse in duties while crying over his messy diaper?

    • IndispensableDestiny

      THe Holy Spirit. It’s still his job.

      • Me

        Holy Spirit was/is a “she”

    • TheSheriff

      Ahem. Jesus is the Son of God. Two different entities.

      • courtobserver

        My wife was brought up Catholic and, as she explains it, the Holy Trinity of God, Jesus, and The Holy Ghost are one in the same. Other Christian religions believe the same. Mormons, for one, believe they are three separate entities. That’s why Mormons are not thought of as Christians by some. So, ahem, Jesus is God and vice versa to many religions.

  • AdamOsa

    Yea,beat up on Jesus…you say stuff like that about Mohammed half of the world will be on fire.

    • mymy!!!

      Muslims Love Jesus, so yes anyone who loves Mohammed, also is on fire for this hateful mockery of the Loving Jesus, Peace be upon him!!

      • Yellowman King

        I never understand this Muslim statement that they love Jesus? Yet they don’t believe his words how then can they claim love for him?

        Jesus said: I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me!

        Did he say this or not? He is who he said he is or he is not and what’s the point is loving a liar? That would be foolish indeed!

    • davidgoldmandg

      LOL! Yeah, but more fun to belong to a religion that you can joke about

    • $4390829

      Crusades? Christians weren’t exactly the most peaceful a couple of centuries ago.

    • skylights

      Mohammed pooped too. I bet he thought his shit didn’t stink.

    • Fatwa envy, much?
      Or, do you have anything possibly more moronic on your mind?

    • cameronhorsburgh

      Mohammed didn’t poop?

  • chillout

    There is historical evidence for the existence of Jesus? Could have fooled me. The first independent historical reference we get is short passage in Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus, and that was written around 93-95AD and no doubt based on hearsay.

  • Adam Jordan

    The obvious is obvious.

  • Jose

    How this piece of crap, appeared like top history in google news?


    • Slow news day.

    • $4390829

      Maybe because all the religous people were raptured when the end of the world came on friday so your left with all us sinners

      • Yellowman King

        Yea the religious people are also called the salt of the earth for they preserve the earth, what does that mean? Salt of the earth!

        These religious people seem to hold an interesting perspective on most everything. They don’t think or see the world as do the men of the world so how can they be of the world? The Jews the Muslims the atheist and nameless others have more in common than they realize. They all deny Christ Jesus! Yet Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God the Father!

    • Tea Party Anarchist

      To enlighten and inform is not the goal of the news.

    • Stop using Jesus to distract me from the 12 days of consumerism. This year didn’t you notice that Christmas actually expanded beyond Thanksgiving? loool.

    • skylights

      Algorithims — HOW DO THEY WORK!?

    • Exactly! Without diapers, jesus would be even more crappy.

  • The three you see here are not the Wisemen. They were the three shepherds who first saw the Star of Bethlehem. The wise men saw the Star the same night and traveled hundreds of miles to reach Jesus. By the time they found him he was already a toddler. Sorry Pampers wasn’t around back then. Here’s a link I found to help explain the birth of Jesus to my 4 year old.


    As for being practical gifts, Joseph was poor and having some start up cash to start a wood working business was just the thing he needed. I’m sure those expensive gifts came in pretty handy.

    • Tea Party Anarchist

      The gifts were both valuable and symbolic. They were gifts one would offer royalty.

    • Carole A. Hudson

      Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with his family. The gifts could help finance a hasty departure and their stay in a foreign land until it was safe to return. Good timing since Herod arranged to have all boy infants from 2 years and under to be slain.

  • Craig Henslin

    What historical evidence?

  • The picture is of Jesus in the manger it’s not the 3 kings (smoking a rubber cigar)

  • mymy!!!

    very unwise mockery of Jesus!!

    • Seriously? Kids have to poop, buddy. What mockery, specifically, are you referring to? I think you need to lighten up. It’s comments like this that make people like you seem like irrelevant dullards.

  • AfroLiberty

    Jesus pooped?

    • skylights

      Everybody poops
      And if they don’t they’re an android
      And should be destroyed

  • John

    Coward, while your poking fun at a religion, let’s hear some derogatory comments on Mohammed and the great laws he brought his people to impose on a billion women.

    • mymy!!!

      Muslims Love Jesus, so anyone who loves Mohammed, loves Jesus and would not do this to the Loving Jesus, Peace be upon them both!!

  • steve

    People trying to disprove God have the hardest job in the world. They have to eat denial daily and we all see how it messes with their minds. I’m tired of the social progessive haters trying to deny Jesus. Merry Christmas. Love beats hate. stay up conservatives.

    • $4390829

      Christians are some of the most hate filled people in the world.

      • Sharon Zecchinelli

        Not really. What you hear are the clamorings of the lost sheep. Christians that actually have a relationship with Yahshua, His real name by the way, pretty much keep quiet.

    • skylights

      Actually it’s the easiest job in the world. We don’t have to disprove anything. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It’s your job to prove God’s existence. In 2,000 years, you have offered no compelling evidence.

  • ogre12

    Yes Jesus became man so could be with us for a short time. It was/is the last time God will reveal himself to us so directly. It is now all about faith or lack thereof. I tell you truly all will face Him on the last day and those who deny Him will also be denied on that last day.

    • cameronhorsburgh

      Fair point, but off topic. Who’s denying Jesus?

  • Festivus for the rest of us! Bring on the airing of grievances , the wrestling , the. Festivus pole

  • Wise men, heh. Bunch of astrologists. Today we call them “psychics” and palm readers. The “Wise men” used stars to “divine” the future, they were always wrong, but had skills of a psychologist to trick fools into parting with their money.

  • Steve

    This is the #1 Top Story on Google News???

  • Will

    Here’s a shocker. You illiterate (author) if you read Matthew 2 onwards. JESUS was an infant, the family traveled to Egypt then returned when Herod died. He was not 2 years old. You also probably never ventured outside of the comfort of this great nation of ours. 2000 years ago and even today, most poor families use clothes as diapers. Amazingly they even exist today. Why bring something they already

    • skylights

      So Jesus pooped in his pants, ewww gross

    • cameronhorsburgh

      Um, the author has been out of the US, and he has spent extended periods of time working in desperately poor countries. I’m pretty sure he knows poor people couldn’t afford Pampers back in the first century BCE.

      • Even more than that, I am aware that Pampers were not sold in Jesus’ time! 🙂

  • Janise Grubber

    holy cartoon

  • Cd

    Our journalism schools stink if they are producing stores like this!!!!

  • prokofo

    Great theological work. I have a feeling that this article will NOT be looked back upon in the distant future as a great source of knowledge like the ancient philosophers we have the fortune of reading. Why didn’t Socrates and Plato write about this?

  • steve

    Just a note also. if you try to comprimise with Jesus-haters, debate them, you will be upset. they do not want to comprimise, or find truth, even though this is the illusion they sell. Their goal is just to make other people as unhappy as they are, and without God they can be pretty unhappy. If you try to use logic and resoning, you will be given debating tricks of the postmodernist, “there is no reality” “there are no absolutes”, only problem with their circular reasoning is that these statements require an absolute form of truth to be considered true. They have beliefs and faith like we do, it s a rebellious faith however, one that hopes that their denial and hate can overcome the love of God. The fact that they make absolute statements shows they have some form of absolute/objective beliefs. if they can live in their little world that makers no sense, why can i not live in my little world, with the real God, which does make sense?
    Like the stupid kids in school who bully the others, theses haters will continue to grow their hearts cold until they ultimately end up destroying any sense of hope for themselves. the best way is not to throw “pearls to swine” and don’t waste time trying to feed delicious steak to ungrateful pigs, way i see it there are many people that would appreciate the steak more, lets focus on those. these people deserve no more of our attention.
    stay up conservatives.

    • skylights

      I’ve been much happier since I became an atheist about 20 years ago. No more fear of going to hell because my faith was weak. Not living in fear, and being able to think for yourself, is great!

    • Imaginary friends are amusing when it’s 3 year olds explaining it, not so much when adults do it. just something to keep in mind…

  • Commander8080

    Didn’t even come close to the meaning of the story of the three magi and the gifts. Didn’t Even try.

  • selencious

    I will advice u to shut up, take Jesus outta this n get a life…People with wisdom undsrstands what d 3gifts means and its importance but people like u do not. Jesus is not to be joked with…Please ask for some understanding before posting craps.

  • Sam Neal

    How could Google put someting as distastful as this on the top of their news page? I am disgusted and appalled by the Google staff. Respecting others beliefs especually at this time of year should be foremost in your cosideration. You are in a position to bring people of differing intrests together but no you chose to have no respect for the millions of christians on this planet. .

    • mymy!!!

      Muslims also are enraged by this, Muslims Love Jesus and there is a fine line between freedom of speech and bulling speech that should not be crossed!!
      Jesus taught humanity the need of love, Peace be upon him!!!

    • skylights

      Google News is all automated, dude. No humans pick the stories or their placement.

  • Yellowman King

    Outrageous mockery of the faith of millions of Americans in the midst of a holiday devoted to this event. Enjoy the fruits of your labor in the place you selected in the hear after.

    The continued ignorance of men has no bounds from the beginning of time. Jesus Christ is also called the stumbling block on which men stumble and fall. Wake up already

    • skylights

      It’s always been mysterious to me why beliefs based on faith are so passionately held and supposedly immune from criticism, while beliefs based on evidence are usually less passionate and are open to criticism.

  • Van Putman

    The level of spiritual/Biblical ignorance exhibited in these remarks is truly shocking.
    First it is self evident that if Jesus was fully human as the Bible says, then Jesus behaved physically like the rest of mankind. Second, the gifts brought were very valuable and were the means of financial support for Mary, Joseph and Jesus while on the run from Herod in Egypt. What could be more [practical] than that? The “wise-men” or Magi did not see Jesus until he was likely past the “diaper” stage of childhood when He was around 1.5 to 2 years old. Since the Godhead is known to be tri-une/3-in-one in nature, we also know that God was/is still at work in the world since the Holy Spirit and God the Father were quite as they had always been. The Bible is really not that hard to understand since it is after all God’s word to mankind and He is not a God of obfuscation or confusion and His ultimate goal is for as many to be reconciled to Himself as will be.

  • Carole A. Hudson

    Their gifts were very practical. They showed respect for the long awaited and prophesied arrival of the Messiah, a son of Divine Royalty. And their value would help the family to finance their departure to Egypt, to flee from the evil intentions of King Herod. Regardless of whether you are a believer or not, the Christmas season is a time to reflect on the value of living a good life and being charitable to those around us. This is what makes the world a better place for everyone. Merry Christmas!

  • ANK

    The 3 wise men, magi or astrologers were NOT from God but from the dark side, the occult or Satan, according to scripture, something the Jewish people were not allowed to dabble in! see Deuteronomy chapter 18, verses 10 to 12.

    Also proof of this, is that they went to wicked King Herod first, who wanted to do away with Jesus, but lyingly told the magi, “When you find him, let me know also, so I can also come and do obeisance to the child.” However after locating Jesus, God told them in a dream NOT to return to Herod & so they didn’t & Herod was so angry, he had all male children 3 years old & under slaughtered! Read the entire account yourselves in Matthew chapters 1 & 2.

    Truth is Best & True be known, there is nothing Christian about Christmas at all. If you do your homework you will learn that the celebration that has now come to be known as Christmas, was once called Saturnalia, birthday of the Sun God where child sacrifices occurred over the 12 days of Christmas & the round balls hanging on the Christmas trees now, were once the heads of the victims of the sacrificed children.

    Early Christians never celebrated birthdays, but only Pagans did. It was considered a sacrilege to early Christians! The date of Jesus birth was not in the Bible for a reason, but the date his death was, because Jesus died for us to ‘pay a debt he didn’t owe, for a debt we owed, but couldn’t pay’. This is the only annual celebration Christians are authorized to keep, on Nisan 14, of the Jewish calendar.

    Truly I tell you today, Satan is alive & well!

    • cameronhorsburgh

      Interesting, that. The only people who saw the coming of the King were pagans. Nobody in Israel, save a couple of elderly people in the Temple, recognised him. Even the shepherds needed to be told by angels.

      Only the pagans could see it. What does that tell us?


    i GUESS Google does not take the ttime to edit their items . It must be really hard to print the truth,and very easy to print lies.

  • Joe

    Incense and myrhh cover up smelly butts.

  • J

    Religious thought, symptom of the primitive mind.

  • kim

    What “historical evidence” are you talking about? There are ‘hostile witnesses’ such as Josephus who speaks about Jesus, Pliny etc..They speak of Jesus in a negative light but nevertheless they recognize that He existed. Not to mention the disciples who were killed for following Jesus. At any point they could have saved their lives and said Jesus was not alive. Truth is truth whether you believe it or not. One day EVERY knee will bow and confess Jesus is Lord!

  • lis

    Or if we’re trying to analyze the reality of the situation within its culture, diapers were definitely not available. But yes, surely Jesus ate, slept, and pooped.

  • jtownsle

    Why is this blasphemy? Was Jesus human or not? If you don’t believe he was fully human, you’re a Docetic or perhaps a Gnostic, heretical cults which the early church fought vigorously to suppress. if Jesus was human, then he had lungs, blood, liver, lymphocytes, bowels, etc. Jesus would have needed the normal human things that we all do. Which was the position of the early church–that Jesus was both fully human and fully God, thus creating the bridge between humanity and Yahweh.

  • Eric

    I’ve found that talking about Jesus pooping himself is a nice test for Docetism and other neo-platonic leanings. Apparently, our churches are filled with gnostics these days…

  • Frithweaver

    Two things that amaze me about all the comments claiming that this is disrespectful to religious Christians: 1) the author is himself a deeply religious Christian, so much so that it is the sole focus of his blog. 2) if those conservatives who believe this is some sort of attack on Christianity were to hear essentially the same message (Jesus was a human being, his parents dealt with him like any human child) from their own pastors, they would be repeating it as wisdom around the Christmas dinner table.

    Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please return to a more open, conversational, and loving attitude when interacting with the world around you! Isolating yourselves is not good for you or for the rest of the world. The *whole* world for whose sins Jesus died.

  • Dylan


  • Just Sayin’

    Dr. McGrath, please remind me why Jesus would have been about two years old when the Magi arrived?

    • cameronhorsburgh

      It’s to do with Matthew 2:16—Herod killed all the boys in Bethlehem two years and younger according to the information gleaned from the Magi. So Jesus could have been any age younger than that, at least in this narrative.

      The only other clue is that the Magi came ‘after his birth’ and the implication seems to be it was some time afterwards. If they started travelling when they saw his star rise, it may have been, at the very least, some months after Jesus’ birth when they arrived.

      • Cameron got to this first. Thanks! Yes, I would have said the same things. Herod asked when the star appeared, and then killed all the male children two years and younger, which suggests that the star signalling Jesus’ birth was thought of as having appeared two years previously. Although I suppose that Herod could have been leaving a buffer to be safe.

        Also worth noting is the use of a term that more naturally means “child” rather than (as in Luke) one that more specifically means “baby.”

  • thinkingdeeply

    I just have a comment about you saying the wise men did not bring ”practical’ gifts. Actually the gifts were brilliant, they were small and portable, and extremely valuable. They could be liquidated on an as-required basis, and the wealth these gifts provided to Joseph and Mary meant the family could escape to Egypt and stay safely while King Herod was having the boys age 2 and under systematically killed. Matthew 2 : 13-19. Notice how the angel warned Joseph in a dream right after the Wise Men departed. God always has all his ducks in a row They had exactly what they needed to escape, when they needed it, and then to live on until it was safe to go home after Herod died.