Psalm of the Day: Psalm 15
Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 9:13-18
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-7
We have, in these verses, the story of a birth — the birth of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every birth of a living child is a marvelous event. It brings into being a soul that will never die. But never since the world began, was a birth so marvelous as the birth of Christ. In itself it was a miracle — "God was manifest in the flesh!" The blessings it brought into the world were unspeakable — it opened to man the door of everlasting life!
In reading these verses, let us first notice — the TIMES when Christ was born. It was in the days when Augustus, the first Roman emperor, made "a decree that all the world should be taxed."
The wisdom of God appears in this simple fact. The scepter was practically departing from Judah. (Genesis 49:10.) The Jews were coming under the dominion and taxation of a foreign power. Strangers were beginning to rule over them. They no longer had a really independent government of their own. The "due time" had come for the promised Messiah to appear. Augustus taxes "the world" — and at once Christ is born.
It was a time peculiarly suitable for the introduction of Christ's Gospel. The whole civilized earth was at length governed by one master. There was nothing to prevent the preacher of a new faith going from city to city, and country to country. The princes and priests of the heathen world had been weighed in the balances, and found lacking. Egypt, and Assyria, and Babylon, and Persia, and Greece, and Rome — had all successively proved that "the world by wisdom knew not God." (1 Corinthians 1:21.) Notwithstanding their mighty conquerors, and poets, and historians, and architects, and philosophers — the kingdoms of the world were full of dark idolatry. It was indeed "due time" for God to interpose from Heaven, and send down an almighty Savior! It was "due time" for Christ to be born.
Let us ever rest our souls on the thought, that times are in God's hand. (Psalm 31:15.) He knows the best season for sending help to His church, and new light to the world. Let us beware of giving way to over-anxiety about the course of events around us — as if we knew better than the King of kings, what time relief should come.
"Cease, Philip, to try to govern the world," was a frequent saying of Luther to an anxious friend. It was a saying full of wisdom.
Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord, thank you that you are in full control of time and use nations, governments, time, events, and men must bow to your authority.
This devotional was taken from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle published in 1858
and adapted by Pastor Tim Lewis of New England Shores Baptist Church.