Summary: God’s master plan has always been to bring people home through the miracle of the first Christmas.
Text: “And everyone went to his own town to register” (Luke 2:3).
Before God created mankind, he had a plan on the drawing board. His plan was to create an environment in which he would place mankind. The environment would be self-sustaining and man’s primary function would be to communicate with God the Father. After God created man, he created woman as a helpmate for man.
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and from the rib formed woman. Now man had a mate and God had mankind created in his own image. Adam and Eve were placed in a beautiful environment called the “Garden of Eden”.
The Garden of Eden was the first home created on earth and Adam and Eve were privileged to live in this beautiful home. This home had everything anyone could ask for. God provided shelter in the garden as well as many trees with edible fruits. The water supply was plentiful due to a river that flowed through the garden. God placed Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden to work the soil and take care of the garden. There was no need for Adam and Eve to worry about weather conditions, storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes because conditions were like a well-controlled hothouse.
God wanted Adam and Eve to be obedient to him and to one another. God said to them, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16). At this particular time, there was no such thing as death. Nothing died, nothing rotted, and nothing spoiled.
Adam and Eve had a wonderful setup. It included a beautiful home and a Father who walked with them daily. God not only walked with them, but they also walked with God giving him all the honor and glory he deserved.
Since God created Adam and Eve, he knew their hearts, he knew what they could do, and he knew what they would do, so in his major plan he allotted a minor plan that would take care of what he knew would happen. God did not want puppets on a string, so he gave mankind the privilege of making choices. Satan knew this and convinced Eve that eating from the tree of knowledge and evil was permissible. Satan said to Eve, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:2-3).
Eve not only ate of the fruit, but also convinced Adam to partake of the fruit. It was at this very moment that their home life changed. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:7).
This action was the fall of mankind. This was the original sin and this sin caused them to be separated from God and to lose their happy home in the Garden of Eden.
God did not destroy mankind, but he could have. Instead, God put part 2 of his plan into action. This of the plan was to give mankind an opportunity to regain status in God’s eternal home.
Our Scripture reading indicated that an order or decree was sent out from Caesar Augustus to count the people. Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome. The Roman Empire extended all over the Mediterranean Sea area all the way over to Britain and eastward into Asia. Under the leadership of Caesar Augustus, the Roman Empire was very wealthy, powerful, and authoritative.
In order for the census or the count to take place, people had to return to their own town to register. Joseph and Mary were from the town of Nazareth which is about 70 miles from Bethlehem where they had to register.
Isaiah said, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1). Jesse was the father of David and the family lived in Bethlehem. The Branch referred to is the Messiah.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15). This verse refers to the first coming of the Messiah who would reign in the hearts of believers.
Ezekiel recorded these words: “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees” (Ezekiel 37:24). The Messiah is sometimes referred to or called David because he is David’s descendent. Although David was a good king, he was not perfect like the great King, the Messiah.