Reading the Word
Luke 2:1–5 (ESV)
1 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. 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.
Understanding and Applying the Word
In this short passage we see the sovereign plans of God being fulfilled. In the Old Testament book of Micah, in chapter five, we are told that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Jesus’ parents were from Nazareth, so that was not going to happen without some circumstance causing it. So, here we read that Caesar Augustus decreed that a registration had to take place, which made it necessary for Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem. Was this a coincidence? No.
If you read the Gospel accounts, you will quickly notice that they emphasize over and over again that Jesus and the events surrounding his birth fulfilled prophecies concerning the promised Messiah. Go back and read the opening chapters of Matthew. Understanding this truth helps us understand that Jesus was truly the one the world was waiting for, but it also encourages us by reminding us that, even in a world that seems chaotic, God is in control and he is working his plans and purposes in his timing. Let us remember, as we think about the events of Christ’s birth, that the future is secure in the hands of God.
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