The Decree from Caesar

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. Luke 2:11 (ESV)

Consider: In the time of Christ, a decree was an authoritative legal order. If you have ever been evicted from an apartment, it was worse than that. Failure to comply with a decree would result in imprisonment, death, or at the least heavy fining. Luke’s gospel records that Caesar issued a decree that every resident within the Roman Empire should return to their home town to register and pay a special tax. Caesar Augustus issued this decree, but in truth, this decree had already been issued by God. You see, Mary was pregnant with the Messiah, God had already decreed through the prophet Micah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. So while Joseph and Mary, the young engaged couple, may have found traveling for days through rugged and dangerous terrain on the back of a small donkey an incredible inconvenience, it was all part of God’s plan, which had been promised some 500 years earlier. The decree was ultimately from God the Father. He is originator, the one who makes the plans that the Son, Jesus, will implement on earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus reaffirmed this authoritative sovereign power of the Heavenly Father over all those in the Roman Empire, when he faced Pilate, accused of claiming to be a king.

So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:10-11 (ESV)

In other words, “Pilate, ultimately you have no power or authority—God does!” It is essential for every believer to realize the supremacy of God. He spoke the world into existence.

We must remember that God is in control of everything that happens in this life including great hardships, like Joseph and Mary faced in having to travel while pregnant. God is in control, and we must live each day choosing to honor him with a life based on faith.

Apply: Is there an area of your life with which you need to trust God as the Supreme Ruler, the Sovereign God over all the world? What are you afraid of? Take a step of faith and pray the following throughout the day.

Pray: God, I trust in your sovereign power over my life. I will submit to you and your ways; help me to trust and obey. In Christ’s name, amen.