“For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given…” -Isaiah 9:6 (KJV2000)
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…” –Luke 2:11 (KJV2000)
Read: Luke 2:1-4
Bible Scholars say that among Biblical writers, only Luke dated the events he wrote by referring to Roman Emperors. His intention was to write a thorough and factual account of Jesus’ life by setting events in their historical context and here in particular, Christ’s birth.
It was the time when all Israel was under Roman occupation. The words “dark streets” in the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was a fitting description. It was the time when the empire was at its height. In those days of Augustus Caesar, the Roman Empire extended itself further than ever before or since, including Parthia and Britain. People call the empire Terraram orbis imperium—The Empire of the whole earth and that is why here in our text, Luke referred to the empire as all the world (v. 1) for there was scarcely any part of the civilized world that was not dependent on it. It was the time when Judea had become a province of the empire, so when the Roman Empire taxed all its subjects, the Jews were taxed as well. It was the first taxing that was made in Judea; the first mark of their servitude. Jerusalem was taken by Pompey the Roman general, about sixty years before this, who granted the government of the church to Hyrcanus, but not the government of the state for Judea was ruled by Cyrenius the Roman governor of Syria (v. 2): the Roman writers call him Sulpitius Quirinus. It was then, that the Messiah was born.
(Source: Matthew Henry commentary on Luke 2:1-20 c/o http://www.blueletterbible.com)
I observed significance for us of Luke’s mention of the Roman Emperor in the text in connection with the prophetic utterance of Daniel we can read in Daniel 2:31-45. It was about Daniel’s interpretation of a vision by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon about a great and frightening image. According to the vision, the head of the image was made of fine gold, the breast and arms were made of silver; the belly and thighs were made of bronze, the legs were made of iron and the feet and toes were partly iron and partly clay. Then a stone struck the image by its feet, it crushed the image to dust and the wind blew them away. Then the stone that struck the image grew into a mountain that filled the whole earth. Do you remember?
According to Daniel’s interpretation of the vision, the image represents four kingdoms of the world and in the days of the fourth kingdom, God will establish a new kingdom that shall stand forever and nothing could destroy. The stone that has struck the image by its feet and has grown into a mountain represents that kingdom.
In an insight section of the KJV2000 Devotional Bible, page 794, we can see a chart that shows a summary of the explanation of the vision. It is something like this:
|Stone||Kingdom Of God|
In Matthew 16:15-18 (KJV2000), Jesus asked His disciples; “But whom say you that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Peter’s statement is the very foundation of the Christian faith and at the center of every Christian’s heart. It is a divine revelation from the Father. Jesus replied to Peter, “You are Peter, (from the Greek “petros” which means “rock.” It was not Peter as a person but his statement of faith) and upon this rock I will build my church…”
In Isaiah 9:6-7, we read, “For unto us a child is given, unto us a child is born and the government shall be upon His shoulders…” A child would be born who would be the ruler of His people. In the days of Caesar Augustus, the king of the fourth monarchy, the prophecy was fulfilled. The ruler of the new kingdom was born; the kingdom that shall never end and not even the gates of hell shall prevail against it- the church. Up to this very day, the stone is growing into a mountain that shall fill the whole earth.
Christmas indeed is a time for celebration for the King of kings and the Lord of lords has come to rule! It is the day of the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption for His people. Just like in the hymn, “the hope and fears of all the years are met in thee (Bethlehem) tonight”. It is not only true for the Jews but for every believer as well. Christ meets your every hope and every fear especially those who depend on Him totally.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Image above from: Bread Breakers Ministry