2023 Advent Devotional - Luke 2:1-5 (Day 21)


Luke 2:1-5 “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.”

This section of scripture demonstrates to us how the prophesies of Samuel and Micah came to pass.  In 2 Samuel 7:16, God promised David, through the profit Samuel…“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever”.  Micah prophesied about 300 years after Samuel, that the the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem in Micah 5:2. “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 of days.”  How could this be, since Joseph and Mary were in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, and Mary had already been told by Gabriel that she would be the virgin mother of the Messiah?  If Mary gave birth to Jesus anywhere else, then how could He be the Messiah?  The Jewish people had been waiting for the “hoped-for” Messiah, the “Son of David” for centuries, and He was going to come to them in a most unexpected way.  

Nothing is impossible with God!  Who would have expected that the despised Roman Empire would have any part in how these prophesies would be fulfilled?  We have another example of how God uses unlikely civil leaders in His plans.  Would Samuel and Micah have had any idea of the Roman Empire, when they made their prophesies?  Yet, here we have the leader of the Roman Empire calling for a “registration” of “all the world”.   By ordering this census, or registration, Joseph and Mary must travel to Bethlehem to be registered.  This decree also resulted in documenting the birth of Jesus, and established a historical context of His life on earth.

Joseph and Mary were obedient to the civil authorities, and traveled for this registration, despite Mary being very close to the time Jesus would be born.  There would undoubtedly be other members of Joseph’s extended family in Bethlehem, as this family was of the house and lineage of David.  When Caesar gave his proclamation that everyone “in the world”, the Roman Empire, he was ordering everyone to return to their home territory…which would unite them with other extended members of the “line of David”.  When you stop to consider how all of this happened to fulfill the prophesy of our Lord’s birth; it becomes clear that God’s ways are not our ways…and that “nothing is impossible for Him”!

Heavenly Father, please forgive us when we fail to remember that all things are possible with You, and that You often use the unlikeliest people or countries, rulers, and circumstances in Your plans.  Increase our trust in You, and help us see how You use a variety of individuals, events and circumstances to bring about Your Plan for our lives…and help us understand how You might be using us…for Your purpose today.  Amen  - By Tom Hoien

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