Luke 2:1-5 ¶ In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… 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.
The sovereignty of God is one of the most beautiful doctrines and realities in scripture. It is clearly involved in the details of our lives but so easily overlooked. The Lord orchestrates all things to see His purposes fulfilled, He even directs the course of the powerful, the evil, and the oblivious. Think about it, the Roman Emperor had no interest or concern about the heavenly kingdom. Never the less, his decisions were being used to bring about the directives of the Lord. Caesar forced the jewish families to return to their ancestral home; this was so the prophesy in Micah could be fulfilled,
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old from ancient days.”
Here are some thoughts from a Christmas sermon by Martin Luther.
“From it (the birth of Christ) one may see and learn that the Lord, immediately with His birth into the world, distinguishes sharply between his kingdom and the world’s. As regards the world, it as though he is not cognizant of it and its jurisdiction; and contrariwise the world’s acknowledgement of him is virtually nil both to his person and his kingdom. Yet Christ does not strip Caesar Augustus of his power and rule. He lets him issue the decree for the worldwide taxation, and what is more, lets him tax the parents, Joseph and Mary, too. Caesar rules things in his kingdom with absolute authority basing his decisions on the canons of sound reason and wisdom, strict law and order. All this Christ allows to take place, except only that he wants his kingdom to be distinguished from caesar’s. For that reason he conducts himself as though caesar’s realm and the world’s did not concern him; and in turn the world and caesar act as though the King and his kingdom are of no account to them.”
Why was Jesus oblivious to the kingdoms of this world? They were unimportant to Him. He was concerned about the kingdom of heaven, that other kingdom was infinitely inferior to His and existed only to bring about the Lord’s purposes. The kingdoms of this world today seem to be out of control and arrogantly pursuing their own agendas. They actually are; but just as it was at the time of Christ’s birth the Lord is orchestrating all of the kingdoms of this world to prepare the way for His Second Coming. That is our Christmas hope, He came before and He will surely come again.