Great Plans

The World when Christ was born.

Luke 2:1-7 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Did you ever wonder about of all the things that had to happen bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem? God knew that they had to be in Bethlehem to fulfill what the prophet Micah had foretold almost 400 years earlier. (Micah 5:2). Well that's where Caesar Augustus (the majestic one) comes to play a part. Caesar August was born Gaius Octavius in 63 B.C. He was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar who adopted him as son and declared him heir to the throne. Octavian eventually ascended to the throne after the death of Julius by winning the power struggle with Mark Anthony. Octavian ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.

In that time, Caesar Augustus expanded the Roman empire through military, political and social skills. This era was known as the "Pax Romana"- "the Roman Peace". This time of peace allowed for the construction of the Roman road system throughout the Roman Empire and into Asia Minor and the Middle East. Since Rome controlled all the territory, there were few checkpoints and the movement of people, goods, supplies was easy and travel was relatively less dangerous. Caesar Augustus issued his famous decree for two quite practical reasons. One, for registration of men for military service (a draft) and the other for taxes to Rome to pay for the upkeep of the empire. Due to various delays and difficulties the census took about two to four years to finally reach Palestine and be carried out. Why that long?.... well, decrees to time to travel to all parts of the Empire, regional planning and logistics had to happen, assignments given to local officials, materials delivered for the census. Finally Caesar issued a strict deadline for it to be carried out ...........just about the time Mary was ready to give birth!

Without the decree from Caesar, there is no census and Mary and Joseph have no reason to go to Bethlehem.
This Christmas read what Isaiah says in Chapter 25:1:

"O LORD, You are my God ; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name ; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness."

God has great plans for us as well!

Merry Christmas,

Matt Schneider

Check out Day 15 of our 24 Days of Books - today's book recommendation is Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders by Reggie McNeal. Read more about it and see all the other books recommended so far by clicking here.

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