1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 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:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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.
Gaius Octavius was Caesar Augustus’ real name.
Julius Caesar was his great uncle. He was called Caesar Augustus, because Augustus was his title. With some, that title fell away, and they were simply called Caesar (Caesar being someone who rules over a group of nations).
Caesar Augustus was a very powerful ruler, and basically a military ruler. He was given title of August, claiming deity, the supreme ruler.
Julius Caesar was born about 100 years before our Lord, and ruled over the Roman Republic. But Caesar Augustus ruled not only over the Roman Republic, but the whole known world.
It was this Caesar Augustus who called for a census of the whole Roman world, being the whole known world. This happened while Cirenius was governor of Syria. (Here is more info on Caesar Augustus)
Even though he didn’t want to be called a dictator, that is in fact what he was.
Now Joseph and Mary were both from the royal line of David. David had two cities, known to be his. Jerusalem was known as the city of David, and Bethlehem the town of David. Jerusalem was the royal city, the city of kings, but Bethlehem a despised town, a town of shepherds. However when Jesus came into this world, he didn’t come to Jerusalem, the royal city, but Bethlehem, for He is the Good Shepherd.
It is also fitting that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, for Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’, and He is the Bread of Life.
Joseph and Mary had to travel over 100km to get to Bethlehem, and they could’ve complained that it would be difficult, and the child could be born on the way. But God was using Caesar Augustus to accomplish His purposes. If you’re in God’s hands, things cannot go wrong, even if you think things are going wrong. Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem, and God planned it perfectly.
The magi went to Jerusalem to find Jesus, and caused a great stir by their message. Only there did they learn that He was to be born in Bethlehem, as it is written in Micah 5.2. Herod sent them to Bethlehem and report back to him, under the pretence of wanting to worship Him. Unless they received warning from God not to return to Herod, they would’ve reported back. We too must ask God for discernment, lest we cause much damage. Herod wanted to kill Jesus, and not worship Him.
The chief priests and Pharisees knew the truth, but it did nothing for them. They were not like the Shepherds who humbled themselves and went to worship the Christ-child. They remained where they were. They were like road signs who point the way, but never go there themselves. From the Scriptures they could see that this Child was God coming into this world.. Don’t be like a road sign who only points to the right way, but do not go.
A certain Christian women from Pomeroy-area were forbidden to serve Christ by her husband. He said he would kill her, lest she forsook Christ. She refused to forsake Christ, and told her husband that she would rather die, than forsake Him. When he saw her resolve, he scolded her and left. She was a true Christians, but many times the women forsake Christ because of their husbands. They have no backbone.
Have you surrendered yourself fully to the Lord, saying, ‘May Your will be done in my life, and my will come to an end.’