In those days the doors of temple Janus were closed; they had been closed for more than a decade and would remain closed for another 20 years, for this was the time of the Pax Romana, the Roman Peace. Whenever the Roman Republic was at war the doors of the temple were open; in times of peace they were closed. History tells us that terror and intimidation were the means by which Augustus ruled the world. He would kill and destroy if necessary to bring about his reign of peace.
In the land of Palestine, where Jesus was born, the land given to the Jewish people by God, you submitted to Caesar or you died. The Roman army would march into your town or village, if you declared that Caesar is Lord, you lived and became subjects of the Empire. If you refused to declare the lordship of Caesar you were killed or taken as slaves. Once in submission both to Caesar and in Israel to Herod, Augustus’ appointed king of this territory, you paid a Tribute Tax to Caesar and a tax to Herod. You paid transit and trade taxes and exchange fees. You paid a temple tax and were required to give special offerings during the Jewish feasts. In short, you paid and paid and paid, until as one historian put it…Herod had “reduced the people to helpless poverty”. May lost their family land, their businesses, they hired themselves out as laborers to feed their families. For the people of God it was a time of desperate poverty and oppression.
Into this setting at just the right time in human history (Galatians 4:4) God sent His Son! His plan from eternity past was unfolding in a way no one would have imagined. Caesar thought he had gained world power; he never had it. Little did he know when he issued that decree that One being carried in the womb of a young Jewish girl would be the One who is the King of kings and Lord of lords! It's beyond our ability to totally comprehend; the Son of God taking on the form of a man that the eternal purposes of God the Father might be accomplished.
As we enter into this Christmas season 2015, we reminded our God is the Supreme Ruler of this world, He is still on His throne, He is still in control, working out His purposes in the world today!