The Road To Bethlehem

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Luke 2:1-3. And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Caesar Augustus has a political platform you probably won’t hear this coming year in our presidential campaign. He announced to the Roman Empire, “Read my Lips: Lots of new taxes!” It says there in verse 1 and verse 3 that he made a decree for everyone to go to his home town to be registered. In effect, he’s saying, “I need to know how many people are in the empire so I can know how much to tax you.” Of course, the difference between Caesar Augustus and modern presidents is that Caesar was not elected by the people, nor did he have term limits. He was kind of like a king or an emperor. He could do whatever he wanted. And here, he wanted to tax people. And in order to do that, he needed them to register, to take part in a census.  Let me tell you a little bit about Caesar Augustus. His real name was Gaius Octavius. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, and so when Julius Caesar died, Octavius became emperor, and with it, the title of his position – Caesar O. he should have been known as Octavius Caesar. However, Octavius had quite an ego. He was very proud and arrogant. He wanted to be greater than any other Caesar before him, and so, with the approval of the Roman Senate, he dropped his name Octavius, and added the title Augustus. Augustus means “Majesty.” It’s a name of divinity. It carries the idea of being “of the gods.” Caesar Augustus means Caesar God.

In essence, he was proclaiming himself to be god. That is part of the reason he taxed the people so heavily. He figured a god should live in luxury and ease, and that the people, his subjects, should pay for his luxuries. And so he taxed them. He didn’t care how his heavy taxes placed financial burdens on the people, and he didn’t care that his method of registration caused great disruption in the lives of his subjects. He didn’t care that by forcing people to return to their hometown to be registered, he was forcing people to go on long journey’s, and possibly uproot their families, and lose their jobs. He didn’t care if people were sick; he didn’t care if people were old. He just didn’t care. It didn’t matter to him if the subjects of his empire were greatly inconvenienced by his decree, he just wanted his money. He did whatever he wanted, and if people didn’t like it, that’s too bad. If they tried to rebel, he had his vast army to deal with uprisings. And yet even through the journey to Bethlehem would be a difficult one especially with Mary being pregnant, both Joseph and Mary followed through what that had to do. So they headed to Bethlehem the town of David, because Joseph belonged to the house and line of David.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

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