The world was full of war, death, disease, and despair. God had not spoken in 400 years. God had not sent any prophets, any miracles, any Messiah – it was as though He was silent.
And then one day, what the world has been waiting for…a savior.
Who was that savior’s name?
No, not Jesus…Gaius Octavius Thurinus.
This man became the first Roman emperor in 29 BC and he restored the Roman Empire into power and initiated an era named Pax Romana, or Roman peace. For the first time in the history of man since the Fall, there was peace and each Roman citizen was living their most affluent, healthy lifestyle ever. Success, innovation, technology, knowledge, everything was flourishing with this savior of the world in power.
He even renamed himself to account for being the savior of the world. In doing so Gaius Octavius Thurinus sent out his wisest men into all the lands to find a name suitable for this messiah to the world. And they came back with Caesar Augustus which meant “Caesar of the Gods” or “the exalted one.”
This man was what the world was looking for. A man who could provide temporal peace and prosperity to suit their worldly desires.
And this Caesar of the Gods, to build his empire of peace and prosperity, decided to institute a census in order to tax all the inhabited earth. And so he decreed that each person go to their hometown to be counted as such.
Although this emperor believed that it was him pulling the strings of history, the true God was in total control, totally sovereign over His plan that He put into action before time began.
Unbeknownst to Augustus, there was a teenager – deep into her third trimester, engaged to a no name carpenter that was forced by what looked like the hand of Augustus to move 80 miles south on a donkey to the husband’s hometown of Bethlehem. How else would you get a woman vastly pregnant to ride a grueling journey on the back of a donkey – I’m sure she wouldn’t have listed to Joseph. So God used the hand of the world’s savior to fulfill a prophecy spoken 700 years before by the prophet Micah.
And so born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born in a back alley cave. Dark, dirty, disgusting – that is where this baby was born in Bethlehem. This baby, today so commercialized and cleaned up, was born amongst the filth and excrement of animals and placed in an eating trough just cleared from the feed and spit of beasts. This was God Himself.
No coronation, no parade, no clean hospital room, no one waiting for Him. This was not the Savior the world wanted or the world was waiting for. The people pleased with their own god of their own making and content in their sin and pleasure had no room for the true God, the true Savior. The only people to visit this King of Kings were lowly shepherds – the armpit of occupations in Judea.
And so God, coming off His throne in Heaven, from a world of perfection with no sin and all that is righteous and good, came to Earth, full of sin, corruption, and unrighteousness. And He, although existed in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave and was made in the appearance of man. He humbled Himself to take upon hate and ridicule, being despised and forsaken, not given any esteem or glory at all.
And why would the Lord of Lords do this? Why would He be born in this way and live His life in this way?
The Bible, God’s Word, says it was to live a perfect, sinless life, to die a gruesome death on a cross for God’s wrath against sin, to pour out His blood as an atonement for all that would repent and trust in Him, and defeat death as to attain to the resurrection from the dead. It was so that if you repent and believe on His name alone for your salvation and surrender to His Lordship – that when God would look at you, He would see this Savior and when He would look at His Son, He would see your sin.
That is this baby, that is the true Savior, that is the true God, that is the Truth.
That is Jesus.