In the Christmas story of Jesus birth, how many kings were there? The correct answer is two: King Herod and King Jesus. And did you know that the original real-life Mary didn’t ride on a donkey? The donkey scene and the three kings are a famous part of the nativity story and school play – and they’re fun parts – but they are nowhere to be seen in the Bible. The word translated “Magi” or “wise men” refers to a group of scholars who studied the stars; they were probably astrologers. We read: In the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” (We don’t even know how many Magi were there… From the three gifts listed, many assume there were three wise men; this maybe, but it’s by no means certain.) There were, however, two kings: King Herod and King Jesus.

Adapted from Carl Laferton, Christmas Uncut, 2015, The Good Book Company, p.6