God works through time and sinful men.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 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, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
Luke 2:1-5 (ESV)
Many of us read this passage at Christmas time. Luke 2 is the fullest account of Christ’s birth out of all the gospels. However, many times when we read the Christmas story, we glance over this passage. Sometimes it’s because we think that it is just introductory material. It is just setting up the birth of Christ. However, this is one of the most important aspects of Jesus birth. These five verses show God’s providence and power in the birth of His Son.
Paul tells us in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” This is why Luke’s description in verses 1-5 is so important. It demonstrates that God worked everything out in time and then sent His son at the perfect moment. The timing was perfect. The time of the Roman empire gave rise to the term Pax Romana which means “peace of Rome.” This was a period of extended peace throughout the Mediterranean that allowed the gospel to spread rapidly throughout the world without danger. The Romans also created roads to make travel easier which allowed safe, rapid travel from province to province. This was the time God decided to send His Son. A time where the good news of Jesus Christ could spread rapidly and reach countless people for the gospel from every tribe, tongue and nation. God, through the Roman emperor, caused Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem which fulfilled the prophecy that Jesus would be born there. None of this is coincidence.
Through all of this, we need to see the importance of the message. God worked through time and through sinful men to bring about the birth of His Son in a time where the gospel could reach the nations. The purpose of this, as Paul says in Galatians, was to redeem those under the law that we could be adopted into the family of God. God sent His Son at the right time, in the right place, under the right circumstances so that you and I would come to know the grace of God through the sacrifice of His Son.
This week, reflect on the way that God has worked in your life. Look at the circumstances that you are or have been in and see what God is telling you. Find a way to glorify God in your circumstances. Then, share with others how God has used those circumstances for your good and his Glory.