It never hit me until today. Just listen to Luke 1:1-7 like you’ve never listened before…
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Before this week, I never realized just how much of a power struggle was commencing when Jesus was born. It was really one king versus another. Better yet, it was one kingdom versus another: the kingdom of this world versus the Kingdom of God.
Caesar issued a decree. It was law because Caesar was Caesar, Emporer, King. So in his arrogance and on his power trip, Augustus issued forth a rather demanding decree. Everyone would have to travel to his own hometown for a special census so that he could count up his influence and see just how many people he was reigning. He was the King of the world, right? Yet Caesar had no idea just how much he was playing right into the hands of a sovereign God. Caesar’s decree set in place the fulfillment of Scriptures that had been written hundreds of years before.
It’s a reminder that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. It’s a reminder that God is sovereign and in control at all times. And it’s a further reminder of the difference between two kingdoms…
- The kingdom of the world is about authority, power, and at times tyranny – the Kingdom of God is about love and sacrificial service.
- The kingdom of the world is temporary – the Kingdom of God is permanent.
- The kingdom of the world is often governed by those who are in power for selfish reasons – God gave His Son and His Son gave His life.
- The kingdom of this world is material. It’s about money and prestige. The Kingdom of God is about spiritual things.
Jesus told Nicodemus, “unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Have you been born again? Are you a citizen of God’s forever Kingdom?