Scripture: Luke 2:1-10
"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."
By Adri Fonteijn
In these ten verses, the author Luke introduces the most powerful man of the known world: "Caesar Augustus." This man has the power to make families thousands of miles away travel to register so he can tax them better.
Luke contrasts Caesar with a young couple, with very limited standing in society, who will soon have a baby born out of wedlock. This contrast between powerful and powerless becomes even stronger when we're introduced to the shepherds. Shepherds were people who by all accounts were despised by society, and kept from participating in religious activities by their communities.
Luke sets up the tension on purpose. Where would the King of Kings be born? The author tells us: not in the center of the empire, but at the edge. The first to hear are not royal friends, but despised shepherds.
"The ones we don't expect to be included are the ones he uses, and the ones who hear first."
God is the God of the upside-down kingdom. The ones we don't expect to be included are the ones he uses, and the ones who hear first. This passage forces us to assess our own prejudices. How are my culture, my social status, and my education level influencing the way I see the world? Am I excluding people that God would include?
Question to Consider
God chose the men who society despised to be the first to hear. We have received the good news of Jesus Christ. Is there a person in your life that you have never considered sharing this good news with? What would it look like to strike up a spiritual conversation with them?
Thank you, Lord, that you have eyes for those that society sees as less. God, I pray that you will give me your eyes to see. May your spirit nudge me to share your good news with those I have not considered before. Give me the words to speak and the patience to listen and wait for you. Amen