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Posted by Don Merritt for “The Life Project” @ https://lifereference.wordpress.com
Original post @ https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/jesus-is-born/
Jesus IS Born
In due course the time came for Mary to give birth to her son; they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told them. There really is no point in my retelling of the story since it is quite possibly the most familiar story in the entire Scriptures for Christian and non-Christian alike. Even so, there are a couple of things I’d like to mention here…
First, you’ll notice that Luke’s account begins with a call by Caesar Augustus for a census to be taken throughout the Empire. Augustus was the most powerful man in the world, and he ruled the mighty Roman Empire as a military dictator. As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, who had been assassinated in 44 BC, he was his heir and became the first Emperor of Rome in 27 BC and ruled until his death in 14 AD. Augustus was not his name; he had been born Gaius Octavian Augustus was actually his self-given title and means “majestic”. He arranged for himself to be declared divine, and all of the people of the Empire were required to worship him…
So he demanded a census be taken so that he could be sure his treasury was collecting the full amount of tax from the people, and thus, Mary and Joseph were required to travel to Bethlehem to be counted… and so that the prophecies of old would be fulfilled. I mention all of this because in Luke’s account, the greatest and most powerful man of all, the ruler of the greatest Empire, the one who would dare to claim divinity and demand worship, became nothing more than a footnote in the story of the birth of a “nobody”, a poor carpenter’s son by all appearances, in a nowhere little town on the edge of the Empire… who just happened to be God Incarnate.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor!
The child was born in a manger, just about the last place anyone would want their child to be born. The announcement of His birth wasn’t made to princes or nobles; it was made to a group of shepherds out in the fields at night. Shepherds, because of the nature of their work were considered to be at the very lowest rung of the social ladder, and as Jewish shepherds, there was little they could do to avoid being ceremonially unclean every day of their lives, and yet God announces the birth of His Son to them. Thus, unclean shepherds were the very first to worship the Son of God.
This Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas came into this world confounding all of the great people, the smart people, and the “beautiful” people. He continued to confound them throughout His ministry, and still does to this day, for God couldn’t care less about the glories of this world; He is the glory of heaven.