Jesus was born into a world newly united. The Roman Empire had
consolidated the entire Mediterranean area, and the Pax Romana, or
Peace of Rome, extended across it, either through the proud
participation of its citizens or through garrisons of soldiers at strategic
places who enforced it.
â€œIn those days Caesar
Augustus issued a decree
that a census should be
taken of the entire Roman
This world had a single language,
Greek. It was stitched together by a
network of Roman roads, the
engineering marvel of the time. This
made it possible for goods and ideas to
spread more rapidly than ever
before--and for a long time after.
These roads were supplemented by
regular sea routes along the coasts and
even out into the open sea, which
meant a speed and ease of commerce
unknown in earlier times. That was
how the good news was able to be
spread so rapidly.
The Emperor Augustus Caesar ruled
this empire at the time of Jesusâ€™
birth. We know him as the
paterfamilias of the large and brutal
family in "I, Claudius," a family that
seemed bent on killing off one another
to gain power.
He was also the ruler who ordered the
census that took Mary and Joseph to
Bethlehem, where the Baby Jesus was
born--in keeping with prophecy and
the purpose of God.
Despite the fact that the birth of Jesus was a single, world-changing
event of history, Jesus comes again and again into our world. He
can come in Los Angeles, a place where people from all over the
world have come together. The good news of his presence can
spread using all the new technology--as well as all the old. And he
can live in lives of VIPs and ordinary people--like you and me.
May Jesus live in our lives--today and every day of our lives.