We finally get to Luke chapter 2 in our cast of Advent characters. You knew we would eventually get to Caesar Augustus, because “in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered” (Luke 2:1).
If you look up Caesar Augustus, you’ll find plenty of history written about him as the first Roman emperor who reigned from 27 BC to AD 14. In his position of power, he had no clue that his decreed tax census would be part of the advent of Christ and Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth. As long as he could extract money from outlying areas of the empire like Palestine, Rome would benefit, and he would continue to be a popular and powerful ruler.
God typically used powerful rulers to accomplish his purposes. He used Pharaoh to take care of Jacob’s family and the nation of Israel for hundreds of years. He used the kings of Assyria, Babylon and Persia to discipline and shape the lives of the rebellious and unfaithful nations of Israel and Judah. He used the Greek’s language to inspire the words of the New Testament. Now he uses the Roman emperor so the Christ would be born in Bethlehem.
Whether you have a choice in the matter, whether you voted for them or not, whether or not you agree with their policies, all governing authority is from God (Romans 13:1). That can be a hard pill to swallow. Yet God casts them in the advent of Christ, so that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so the we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4,5).
Thank you, Lord, for all who rule over your people. Amen.