From Luke 2-3
Today’s passage begins expressing the rule of Caesar Augustus. It ends with the humble birth of another king. It depicts a scene where one king rules and is trying to register everyone under his kingdom. In the midst of surrounding darkness, a new light dawns.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The people of Israel may have returned to the promised land. But the were still under foreign rule. The Romans ruled many nations at that time, including Israel. This was a sore point for many Jews.
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. (Lk 2.1-3)
The Caesar was the emperor of Rome. The Caesars liked to reinforce their rule by getting everyone under their control the register themselves.
The Jews would have hated the process. It didn’t make them citizens of course, that was for the privileged few, but it reinforced the rule Rome had over them. They probably had to write their names down for the record.
To them politics and religion were mixed. The Caesars claimed to be put in power by their gods.
So for us, registering would be like signing the role of another religion. Acknowledging they have power and control over us.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Lk 2.4-5)
In contrast to the foreign rule of Rome and the Caesar. Joseph is heading up to Bethlehem because he is of David’s line. The ancient king of Judah to whom God promised he would give his son an everlasting kingdom (2 Sam 7).
There were three states of a marriage in the Bible. Betrothal, consummation and the wedding feast. Joseph and Mary are betrothed. They haven’t consummated the marriage yet, but they are considered to be married. Mary is with child, who we know is from the LORD.
So in the context of a foreign rule trying to impose his control over the nations under him. The LORD is working his plan to bring in his Son.
The LORD works in all circumstances and stages of life.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Lk 2.6-7)
She gives birth to her firstborn. Her son is not yet named in the text. He is born under humble circumstances. It seems they could not find a place to stay, with relatives or even an inn. Rather this child was born where animals rest and laid where they normally eat.
One king lives in a king’s house. The other could not find room in an inn.
One king is clothed in purple finery. The other in swaddling cloths.
One king sits on a throne. The other is laid in a manger where animals feed.
One king comes from a wealthy family. The other comes from the line of David.
One king founded the Roman empire. The other’s kingdom is not of this world, the Kingdom of God.
One king rules from afar, making sure all sign his registration. The other stands with us, and asks us to follow him.
The Roman king is Caesar Augustus. The child’s name is Jesus, the promised Christ and Lord of all.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.