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The Days of Caesar

Shane Willard

Page 8 of 9
Sometimes the best thing to do, when God shares something with you, is to keep it in your heart. Sometimes people can't handle it.

“...and the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” - because they were living in the days of Caesar Augustus.

Caesar Augustus versus Jesus Christ:

Caesar Augustus ruled with violence; Jesus Christ ruled with peace.

Caesar Augustus ruled by ruling and oppression; Jesus Christ ruled by serving.

Caesar Augustus said my way of life says: you gain authority by oppression; Jesus said, My way of life is: you gain authority through generosity.

If someone asks you to go one mile, go two; you'll be in charge. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other cheek; you'll be in charge. That authority is never through oppression, but through generosity and serving.

Caesar Augustus was all about government care: who's going to take care of the poor? The government will - it's the start of socialism. Jesus Christ said: no, we need to have community care, where we all meet the needs of other people together.

The biggest difference between Augustus Caesar and Jesus is: one is dead; and one lives.

I don't have to tell you, history tells us, that the Jews and the Romans came together, and they killed Jesus. They thought that by killing Him, they could ruin His way of life.

I can imagine the conversation between Jesus and Satan in hell. He'd be like: man, you thought that you could end My way of life by killing Me, but let Me tell you what I'm going to do:

I'm not going to get even at anybody who wronged Me - I'm going to forgive them all. I'm going to actually cook breakfast on the beach for the very people who abandon Me, in four days time. Four days later, Jesus is cooking breakfast on the beach, for the very people who disowned Him at His time of need - and He didn't even bring the sin up.

He just said: do you love Me today? They said: yes. He said: let's go!

What does this mean for us? It means that Jesus is Lord - and He gets the last word; Caesar doesn't get the last word, Jesus does.

Who is the Caesar in your life? What's ruling your life, other than God? What's causing you to feel driven by something else? What represents the entity in your life that takes you down the road you don't want to go to - the road of sadness, and shame, and guilt?

The message of Luke 2 is this: there's a new Lord in town - and He's the real one. He's going to live - the other's going to die. Jesus gets the last word, not Caesar.

Anger doesn't get the last word - God does. Lies in your head don't get the last word - God does. Unforgiveness doesn't get the last word - God does. Feeling disheartened doesn't get the last word - God does. When you're doing all you can do, and it still doesn't work - God still gets the last word. Greed doesn't get the last word - God does. Failure can't have the last word - God does. Rejection can't have the last word - God does.

Is Jesus the Lord of your life; or is the oppressor? Where have we settled for the oppressor, instead of the lordship of Jesus Christ? The oppressor rationalises sin, and keeps us in bondage. The oppressor tells us you can't do what's right. The oppressor tells us that your feelings rule you; just don't do anything you don't feel like doing - your feelings rule you. The oppressor tells you that you're in bondage to your emotions now. The oppressor tells you that you're the most important person in your universe.

That's what the oppressor says - but that doesn't get the last word. There's a real Lord, and He's come to town - His name is Jesus Christ; and we are called to reveal Him to the world, and not the Caesar; we're called to be a group of people who reveal the lordship of Jesus Christ, not the lordship of our slave-driver.

So let me just end this with a couple of application questions:

1) What's oppressing you?

2) Is Jesus Lord, or is the oppressor lord?