When baby Jesus was born, a powerful man named Caesar Augustus was on the throne. Before his reign began, wars and violence — driven by power and money — were the mode of operation in the Roman world. Caesar Augustus changed this. He overpowered anyone who opposed him, which brought peace and bolstered the economy.

And more than being powerful, Caesar Augustus desired an almost worship-like reverence from the Romans. The name “Augustus” means “great" or "venerable.” In some ways, Caesar Augustus appeared to have been great for the Roman Empire. After all, he had brought about true change, leveraging his power and money to make things better.

By ordering the census, Caesar Augustus hoped to efficiently get tax money from his people. All he had to do was snap his fingers, and “everyone went to his own town to register,” just like that… even people who were expecting a child, like Mary.

The census demonstrates how Caesar Augustus ruled with a heavy hand. He positioned himself as an accomplished and powerful leader, but no man can take God’s place. At the heart of it, he didn’t have what the Messiah, born one night in a nondescript stable with clouds from the animals’ breath fogging up the air, brought into the world,.

Jesus’ humble birth shows that He came to earth to be a completely different kind of leader — one who would be our true Savior and the only King we ever need.

Jesus, You are more powerful than any earthly leaders. Thank you for being my Savior. Amen.

Go Deeper — Read about Caesar Augustus’ life and accomplishments on the Internet. Think about how and why Jesus, and not powerful political leaders, is the only One Who can save us.

Tags: Nativity Luke 2
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