1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all I.e. the Roman empire the inhabited earth.
2 This was the first census taken while
Gr Kyrenios Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The nativity story is simple in detail, yet spectacular in significance. God used ordinary events, such as an emperor-appointed census, to bring about a miraculous and world-altering occurrence.
Caesar Augustus’s decree that the whole empire should be registered was a census for the purposes of taxation and military service. It is ironic that Augustus’s name, which means “Exalted,” would make way for the true Exalted One:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9).
The trip for Mary, Joseph, and unborn baby Jesus from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have taken at least three days and covered roughly 90 miles. Mary and Joseph were still only engaged at this point,
because they had not yet consummated their marriage.
Mary and Joseph’s obedience and commitment to the flawlessness of Jesus’ conception is highly commendable, as well as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (see Isaiah 7:14). Jesus’ birth was glorifying yet humble.
The manger in which baby Jesus was placed was an
animal feeding trough. That Jesus was laid in a feeding trough indicates that the family was forced to stay in a stable, or perhaps a cave that served as a stable, because there was no other room available in Bethlehem.
Jesus entered a world in which He humbly and wholly did not belong, in order to save men and women who did not yet know their need for a Savior.
- What about Jesus’ humble beginnings actually glorifies Him?
- How often do you think about the humility of Christ? What about His humility leads you to praise Him?
- Thank Jesus for humbly entering a dark and broken world to bring light to all who would believe in Him.