The Journey: From Nazareth to Bethlehem Notes

Luke 2 1 Mary and Joseph



  Luke 2:1-7 Part One

Charles e. Whisnant

December 02 2012

Did Rome “just happen” to be the world power at the time of Jesus’ birth?  Was it “just coincidence” that Caesar called for a census of the Roman world forcing Joseph and Mary to leave Nazareth and travel 80+ miles to Bethlehem just prior to Jesus’ birth?  Was it “just random” that the Bethlehem innkeeper didn’t have room in his inn but still made room for Joseph and Mary to stay in his stable?   Were all these events and people just coincidences or were they just the way God planned and purposed the birth of his son, Jesus?  Is the world and history just random or is God at work in the events of history and the lives of people bringing about what He wants?  What do you think?

The Events Leading Up to the Birth of Jesus

1A          The History of Christmas and its Traditions:

  1. 1.      Time of Christmas
  2. 2.      Mistletoe
  3. 3.      First Christmas Crib
  4. 4.      History of St Nicholas
  5. 5.      Caroling
  6. 6.      Stockings
  7. 7.      Greeting cards



4A          Luke gives three settings for the coming of the Message

               1A          A World Setting.

               2A          A National Setting with Israel

               3A          A Personal Setting

And all three of these are very important in identifying the nature of Messiah, in identifying the fulfillment of prophecy and identifying His role in the world.

The whole story of the birth of Christ is in verse 7, the first part, “She gave birth.”

Let’s look at the world setting.  Luke 2:1-3

Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth:”

Verse 1 says, “Now it came about in those days.”

               1B          Herod is still alive though he died soon after the birth of Jesus.

2B        These were the days not only of Roman occupation but also that dreaded Roman taxation.

3A          “in those days…in those days, a decree went out.”  This edict that came out of Rome went out from the reigning Caesar of the day, Caesar Augustus. Who was this man?

               1B          He brought in the amazing Pax Romana

               2B          This Roman Peace literally made soft borders everywhere.

3B        Then he built massive Roman roads and affected transportation systems in all directions for the extent of this great power of Rome in the world.

4B        But this man, Caesar Augustus, was a remarkable man. He literally created the world that facilitated the spread of the gospel. Not only did he do that in general but in specific he made an edict that caused Joseph and Mary to have to go by a certain date to Bethlehem where they would have their baby and fulfill prophecy.

5B        Let’s look at his edict. He made an edict, and this was the edict.

6A        His name was Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. He was known to have governed Syria, A.D. 6 to 9…A.D. 6 to 9.

Why else would Joseph and Mary go down to Bethlehem in the dead of winter, (maybe in the winter)  sometime in the late part of the year anyway, when it could be cold, when it could be rainy, when it could be snowy, why would she, nine months pregnant, be bumping on a mule or walking 85 or 90 miles from the north down…really upward to Bethlehem because it’s ascent in terms of terrain?

This was the world setting.

This was how God was controlling the world events crucial to the birth of Christ. It set everything in motion for what for that little couple must have been a miserable trip physically, distressing her to go far from home, far from her mother, far from her family, far from everybody who knew her and loved her and cared about her to have a baby on the road, as it were, in an obscure place. And remember, she was thirteen, or fourteen and her husband was fifteen. But it was essential and they must have gone because they didn’t have a choice.

There are no accidental occurrences, folks, in the realm of the Holy Spirit.  


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