Caesar Augustus: the King of Peace?
Caesar Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. Augustus was born on September 23rd in 63 BC. He ruled as the Emperor of Rome for the first 14 years of Christ's life. He rose to power in time of great peace for this massive empire. Rome was the largest city in the world, located near the Mediterranean Sea. Through conquest and alliances, Augustus expanded the Empire’s territory throughout most of Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia Minor.
Augustus made peace where historically it had been impossible. His leadership and ingenuity led to the development and reform of the taxation system, roadways, armies, guards, mail systems, and more.
The Emperor ruled from Rome on the Italian peninsula. During his reign, the empire was reported to have some 50-90 million inhabitants, roughly 20% of the world population. Caesar Augustus initiated an empire-wide peace like the world had never seen. It lasted some 200 years. This time of peace was called the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace. It was characterized by political stability and prosperity.
What if this was God's gift to man? What if a weary world awaited peace on earth, and through God's sovereign hand, by means of Caesar Augustus, God would give the world peace. Jesus said he came to give peace, but not as the world would give peace. (John 14:27). What if the peace that the world can historically verify through Roman History wasn't really due to the leadership and ingenuity of Caesar Augustus but was instead due to God. For did God not say, through his prophet Isaiah concerning the Messiah, “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” Perhaps the peace we find in the pages of history wasn't due to political strategy and alliance with the world’s strongest leaders but instead orchestrated by the sovereign savior of the world, Jesus. Heaven touched earth one night in the town of Bethlehem; a little town under the Empire's mighty hand was visited by an angelic host announcing the Peace of Christ and his rule forever! A savior was born some 3,000 miles away from Caesar’s palace. Luke writes,
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:8-14 (KJV)
Apply: Jesus’ peace reigns and rules forevermore. Take a moment and pray for your home. Pray for peace in your family. In your heart, ask for peace. Speak peace as you go out today to your friends and families, to strangers, and to coworkers. Speak the words of peace as you experience the peace of Christ.
Pray: God your peace is in me. Your son, Jesus Christ, is the prince of Peace. Thank you for this gift! In Jesus’ name, amen.