Connecting to the Larger Story
Eventually the people of Judah were released from exile in Babylon and many returned to a land left in ruin. In time, they rebuilt Jerusalem, its walls, and its temple. Yet control over Judah passed from one empire to the next, and its people struggled for independence and waited even more expectantly the Messiah, the anointed one, to bring God's salvation and lead them.
Important to Note
1) We are told that Jesus' birth occurred during the time of Caesar Augustus. By noting this time, Luke reminds us of the situation into which Jesus is born. Judea (Judah, now a province of Rome) is under Roman control, and the emperor at its helm is increasingly making claims of being divine himself by taking the title "Son of God". Jesus' birth in the midst of this situation will bring peace to those whom God favors. The ensuing struggle between Jesus as God's anointed and the Roman authorities is set from the beginning.
2) While few outside the shepherds noted his birth to a common worker and his wife at the time of a census that had brought them far from their home, Jesus was born to a family in the line of King David in the town of Bethlehem, the hometown of David. In a manger attended by shepherds, Jesus was born in a lowly, humble place to small acclaim rather than in a palace to great rejoicing. He came not for the rich and powerful but for the lowly and downtrodden.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) What situations do we face today that make us need Jesus?
2) What kind of people would Jesus come to now?