“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29
God is sovereign over all things. He has a master plan, and everything that happens happens with His awareness. Everything that happens only happens if He allows it. (And just because God allows it doesn’t mean He wills it – many things happen in our fallen broken sin stained world that God does not will but He does allow). And God in His sovereignty is able to control things to fulfil His plans – in Romans 8 we are reminded “that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)
And so it was that first Christmas. God had His sovereign plan that the people were waiting for. It had been prophesied that the Messiah, the long awaited serpent crusher would be born in Bethlehem. Micah, writing about 700 years before the birth of Jesus had prophesied “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” (Micah 5:2).
But there was a problem. Mary was pregnant with Jesus. The light of the world was about to move into our neighbourhood. But Mary lived in Nazareth. Bethlehem was 80 miles away. It seemed the wrong girl had been chosen to give birth to the liberating Messiah. Yet remember God is sovereign, and He works through all things and all situations.
“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.” (Luke 2:1-5).
Augustus, the Roman emperor just so happened to decide to hold a census in order to determine how much tax he could charge as Mary was getting towards the end of her pregnancy. And Joseph her fiancée had to return to his ancestors’ town, which just so happened to be Bethlehem. And his fiancée had to go with him. So as Mary approached the day of birth Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem. And her unborn child was taken to the very place where Micah had prophesied that the ruler of Israel, the one of would lead the people with the LORD’s strength, the one who would be the source of peace and highly honoured in all the world, would be born. Augustus, who would have been regarded as the most powerful man on earth at the time, was used by God to bring about the perfect circumstances for the ancient prophesies to be fulfilled as heaven touched earth that first Christmas night. The emperor was a mere puppet in the sovereign hands of God, used to bring about plan A for our salvation.
God is sovereign and He works in all situations for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. The emperor decreed a census for taxation, but God had a better plan, a plan for salvation. A plan for heaven touching earth. God always has a plan, He is sovereign over all powers and authorities and His desire is for our salvation. Trust in His sovereignty this Christmas!
(image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orqwith/4898891814/in/photolist-8sU6RY-7rE4GZ-9Birzw-hdyC1Y-g55i7g-4Pnikh-bPGuUp-cjpSCS-cJsjMw-5LaBez-9rEkTS-cQ8CAL-cjpTh1-k7ybv-51tQWC-51tCKb-aceEDU-5CgWBh-8hfa8e-51u1LQ-51q63g-bPGucK-51ujrC-51tYtU-78ve72-AV3s1-85AwSq-5exZRs-5etAPa-6TddCp-6PzPf6-5exZKW-55Xyjr-nu5Rsr-3dXb5X-fFQfDs-8N3aTr-51pLwk-7gCTvx-9bS2QA-58xnk3-bQhNKt-fsfNFg-8M8FrW-hAMn1D-75rEL7-9mU6JM-dwLZoQ-8G1jX8-gzfxtk )