1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The whole world hailed him as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. He took his name Caesar, from his great uncle Julius Caesar, and the Roman Senate honored him the title of “Augustus,” or “the one who inspires reverence and adoration.” History remembers him as Caesar Augustus, the first sovereign emperor of the far flung Roman Empire.
His names, “Caesar,” and “Augustus,” were eagerly taken up by every emperor who followed him, and who dreamed of wielding power like him. What had once been the sixth month on the Roman calendar, Sextilis, was even renamed “August” in honor of Caesar Augustus.
There quickly sprang up around Caesar Augustus a state religion in which he was worshiped as divi filius, the “son of a god,” and adored as soter, ,”savior of the world.” The official, state record of the reign of Caesar Augustus was called, the evangel, or “the good news.” Caesar Augustus was everywhere feared as the “ruler of land and sea,” and ruled from Gibraltar to Jerusalem, from Britain to the Caspian Sea.
Caesar Augustus’ imposed cessation of hostilities was called the Pax Romana, or, the “Roman Peace.” But it was a peace at a price, the price of yet more blood and more money from Rome’s far flung territories. And it was at the decree of Caesar Augustus that a young Jewish couple in a far off province of Galilee were sent on a hard journey to pay up yet more taxes to Rome.
What delight the Gospel writer Luke must have felt as he took titles that had been claimed only for Caesar Augustus and applied them instead to Mary’s little baby. It was this wet, squirming newborn, his umbilical cord just cut, who was the true divi filius, the true “Son of God.” It was this tiny King of Kings, still squinting at the light of the stable, who is the world’s only soter and Savior. It is before this Child that all rulers and lords will one day fall on their faces and render account.
Here is the real evangel for the world, the only true Gospel. Here is Good News of great joy for all people. The Prince of Peace has been born! Let your heart be at peace!
Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest with today’s scripture text,
Luke 2:1-7, and devotional.
Today’s Moments of Diaphany
- an answer to prayer
- evidence of his love and care
- evidence of his creative power and wisdom
- his help to do his work