Micah 5:2 . . . But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, little among the clans of Judah-from you shall come forth the one who is to rule in Israel.
When Jesus was born, Augustus had been in power for 25 years. He was, in that moment in time, King of kings – he ruled from Gibraltar to Jerusalem and from Britain to the Black Sea. He brought peace to the Roman world – something no one else was able to do – a prince of peace. He offered peace as long as in was in the interests of the Empire and his own glory. NT Wright, when talking about Augustus, quotes Arnaldo Maomigliano who states: There you have it in a nutshell: the whole ambiguous structure of human empire, a kingdom of absolute power, bringing glory to the man at the top, and peace to those on whom his favor rested.
In the Gospel of Luke this power of Augustus is acknowledged. And Luke seems to say . . . watch and see what happens. This great monarch lifts his hand in Rome and far away – in a backwater province – newlyweds are forced to take a dangerous journey to Bethlehem. The result, a child is born in a town that is mention in ancient Hebrew prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. At the birth of this child, angels sing of peace and glory, and the very human emperor is supplanted and the true King is recognized.