I have always been told that if you see a word repeated in scripture, you need to stop and pay attention to it. When I highlighted the words above, God spoke to my heart in a couple of ways. I'm going to talk about one today, and the other one tomorrow (teaser:).
Today's thought concerns verse 1.
Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world should be registered.
Are we letting that sink in? All the world under Rome had to be accounted for. Here's what the Roman empire looked like in the time of Jesus.
This was a big thing. I heard Pastor John Piper speak about this registration once, and although I don't remember the exact quotes, the gist of what he said has stuck with me.
He emphasized that God did a world-wide thing to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. I love that thought. The baby is a world wide Savior, so why not a world wide event surrounding His birth? Why not do something world wide and grand and spectacular surrounding the birth of your Son - the Savior of the world and the soon coming King?
Piper then went on to say that God was "showing off" in all of this! I kind of balked at that at first, but I've found I can't stop thinking about it.
Our connotation of showing off certainly has no redeeming quality about it, so we don't usually put it with God. But sometimes, it's these kind of unconventional pairings that make us dig a little deeper into the word - into our faith - into what we know about God and what we believe.
So, let's keep our soul shovel handy and keep digging deep in Luke 2.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalm 119:18 ESV)