Travel Plans for the Holidays?

When God makes plans, they always succeed and work for our good.

In 63 B.C. Gaius Octavian was born. He was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar who was the Roman Emperor. Julius adopted young Gaius as his son and declared him heir to the throne. Gaius Octavian became Emperor of the Roman Empire from 27 B.C to 14 A.D. Gaius Octavian made great plans as he was a skilled statesman, administrator and military leader who ended civil wars and expanded the Roman Empire almost to the edge of the known world. He was so great that he was given the title Augustus (Majestic One) and his reign became known as the Pax Romana or “Peace of Rome”. During this time of relative peace Rome built new roads and ports, expanded old ones and removed border checkpoints so that commerce could flow easily. That increased trade and profits for many in the Empire and created a need for proper accounting in Rome. With new and expanded roads and ports, a civil peace and trade barriers lifted, Emperor Augustus Gaius Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus) decided he’d like a census he could use to draft men into the military and determine tax levels throughout the Empire.

The Apostle Luke tells us in Luke 2:1-6: Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

The decree was issued probably in 8 BC, two to four years before Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem. Imperial decrees were sent around the Empire, but it was big and travel took a long time. Once the news did reach Judea there were difficulties in organizing and carrying out the decree. There was a deadline so once it reached the provinces the Roman officials hurried to execute the edict. To expedite the order the Roman authorities adopted Jewish customs which stated that a man return to his father’s home region for official obligations. Thus, Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem for the census.

What Caesar Augustus didn’t know was that about 650 years earlier Micah prophesied “But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity”-Micah 5:2

Our sovereign God had planned for Mary and Joseph to be in Bethlehem in precisely the right time so Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could be born exactly as foretold by the prophet Micah. Caesar Augustus made his edicts and plans, but God decreed even bigger ones. God put everything in place for Mary and Joseph to make it to Bethlehem as scheduled.

It is comforting to know that at this Advent season and at all other times, God has everything under His control. God who is omnipotent and sovereign rules all the affairs of men and accomplishes His purposes no matter what.

We praise You God for this most significant moment in all of history when Your Son and our Savior was born, Jesus who would save His people from their sins.

In His name we pray. Amen.

Matt Schneider

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