“And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.” (Luke 2:3–5, NASB95)
And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee. Jesus would say in the early days of His ministry,“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17, NASB95)
Yet so many today think that obeying the government is an option and only then, when it pleases them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every Christmas reminds us that obedience to even a tyrannical government is not an option for those who fear God!
As Joseph makes the 90-mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem by foot, nine-month and nearly ready to deliver Mary rides a donkey behind him. It is an arduous trip for the healthy person. For Mary, the agony must have been virtually unbearable. But Scripture records no complaint or cursing against the Emperor, who was going crazy due to sexually transmitted diseases from his frequent immoralities.
True disciples of Jesus, “honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17, NASB95) Even when he’s antagonistic to our faith or our beliefs, God calls us to understand that “every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” (Romans 13:1–2, NASB95)
And so we rejoin Joseph, who with his new bride Mary, render to Caesar the 90-mile journey to register in David’s town because God wills it and ordained it. How many times have we had to interrupt our lives for some regulation, some infraction that needed to be paid?
God knows every detour and every obstacle. Like the equipment in the gymnasium, each trouble and trial set before us by the “powers that be” are actually placed there to strengthen our faith and mature our trust in God. Today we choose to obey Caesar and trust God!
Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.