God provided the Savior.
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.Luke 2:1-7
The unfolding of the story of Christmas is quite unusual. Everything we see in this passage was not just about providing the Savior but helping the world to identify the Savior as He came. How can we identify that Jesus was the Savior provided by God?
He was identified by His heritage.
In verses 1-3 we see Caesar Augustus, emperor of Rome, make an executive order that there would be a census and a taxation. Everyone had to go back to their family town. Everyone had to go into their “own city”. Joseph went from Nazareth of Galilee, into Bethlehem of Judea with His wife “because he was of the house and lineage of David”.
Interestingly, we know that the Messiah had to be of the house of David.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.2 Samuel 7:16
He was identified by His birthplace.
We also know that the Messiah had to be born in the town of Bethlehem, the city of David.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.Micah 5:2
The timing could not be more perfect. When they got to Bethlehem the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. We have all seen when ladies are at the place where the baby could come at any time. She had her baby in these very humble
He was identified by how Mary cared for Him.
After delivering him, she did two things.
- She “wrapped him in swaddling clothes”. This phrase comes from one verb word in the Greek that means to wrap in strips of cloth. These were not special baby blankets. They were cloths that were available to keep this little baby warm.
- She laid him in a manger. A manger was a trough. It was a place for placing food for the animals. It was a lowly place for the savior to be born, but these two actions were used, as we will see in the next few verses, to help identify this newly born baby.
God has a plan. Isn’t it amazing that the big government of its day was being used by God to bring about His purposes and reveal what He was doing to the world? From Joseph and Mary’s perspective it must have been very inconvenient to travel the 90-mile journey while she was pregnant to be counted and to pay taxes to a foreign entity. God was at work through this human government to get the couple to the place where He had planned for them to be. In doing so we can identify Christ as the Messiah. The Bible says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
God still works this way. We may not undertand every decision that our leaders are making right now. We may not understand why God is allowing certain people to lead or to make the decisions that they do. We must remember that God has an incredible plan. In today’s text He was providing a Savior. He has a plan today. We can trust him.
Take a moment and thank God for providing Jesus for you.