Every week we’ll post a short snippet from Ashley’s sermon from that Sunday. Here’s a few lines from what he said this week as he reflected on the baby lying in the manger.
It’s not accidental that Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to be registered. And this is not just how God arranged things so that Jesus would be born in the town associated with the great King David.
Luke is telling us that the world is in the grip of other powers, of powers like that of Caesar Augustus, a king who could compel people to obey him. And, of course, to pay for the privilege. Because if you didn’t know, there was one main reason that Augustus wanted to get everyone registered, so that they would pay their taxes.
That’s what kings are like, isn’t it? After all that’s why Samuel warned the people when they asked for a king like the other nations. You’ll regret it, he said. Kings want for only two things, power and wealth. But Israel still demanded a king.
Now, however, says Luke, a new king has come. And to underline the point that he is not like the king in Rome (the Caesar) or indeed any other king, he is presented to the world wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.
In ways that are beyond our comprehension, this is how God reveals his power to the nations, this is how he comes to rescue us, not at the head of an army, but as a baby, weak, dependent, vulnerable.
[Reflecting on Luke 2.1-16]