Issued a Decree

Stan Mast

READ : Galatians 4:1-7

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law. (v. 4 NIV)

There he was at exactly the right place at exactly the right time, because of the decree of Caesar Augustus. It’s enough to make you think that maybe it wasn’t just Caesar who was making decrees. Jesus came to the place where you’d least expect him because of God’s decree for the fullness of time.

He came in an unexpected way, not with the trappings of power and empire but with all the trouble of the oppressed, a baby of a despised people born in unsanitary conditions under Roman occupation. As his mother sang in her Magnificat (Luke 1), he did not come to the powerful. Caesar in far off Rome couldn’t have cared less about his birth, while the local potentate cared so much that he tried to kill the Christ. Herod understood that this baby was a threat to his power, to empire. He was right, more than anyone would realize for centuries.

So Jesus comes to twenty-first-century America—not into a manger in Bethlehem, but into the hearts of all Americans (and Canadians and Israelis and Iraqis and Africans and Asians) who will make room for him as Savior and Lord. “No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in” (O Little Town of Bethlehem). For so God decreed.


“O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.” Amen.