Who is Really in Charge?

In 2022, during the holiday season, before I signed off at my day job for several days of vacation, I emailed my coworkers with the subject line “Ask Barbara Not an Option.”

Why did I do this?

First, I did it to be funny.

Second, I would travel by car for my vacation and would have extremely limited time or access to internet service.

But also, having started working as the receptionist and eventually becoming the office manager, I get asked many questions throughout the workweek in my job.

Thus, from the day I started working at my current employer, I have regularly interacted with every single department. Thus, I know many details about many things.

But this does not mean I am the one in charge at work.

What does any of this have to do with Luke 2:1-7?

Who is Really in Charge? | Luke 1:1-80 | Review

Luke opens his gospel book by stating that many others had written an account of Jesus. (Luke 1:1)

Even so, he also wanted to provide an orderly, well-investigated account. (Luke 1:2)

Luke then shares about Gabriel, an angelic messenger from the God of Heaven and Earth, appearing to Zechariah and Mary. (Luke 1:11-37)

Zechariah, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth, were elderly and without children. (Luke 1:5-7)

Gabriel announced they would be the parents of a boy they were to name John, who would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. (Luke 1:11-15)

Mary, a young virgin betrothed to be married, is told by Gabriel she will bear a son by the power of the Holy Spirit, not her betrothed. (Luke 1:26-37)

Luke then shares Mary traveled to visit Elizabeth, her relative, for three months. (Luke 1:39-56)

Next, Luke details the birth of Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son, John. (Luke 1:57-80)

Having read the above review, who is Luke highlighting as overseeing all that occurred? How do you know?

Who is Really in Charge? | Luke 2:1-7

Suddenly, Luke turns his reader’s attention to worldly powers.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.[1]

How much power and authority did Caesar Augustus have based on the verse above?

This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.[2]

Regarding political positions how does Quirinius relate to Caesar Augustus?

And all went to be registered, each to his own town.[3]

Who obeyed Caesar Augustus’ decree?

Returning to personal accounts, Luke shares the name and family lineage of Mary’s betrothed.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.[4]

Why does Luke share this information about Joseph? (See 1 Samuel 17:12 and Micah 5:2)

Explain the significance of Luke referring to Mary and Joseph as only betrothed at this point.

Luke concludes this section by reporting details of where Mary gave birth.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. [5]

What stands out to you regarding the contrast between Caesar Augustus ruling from the top of the Roman government to the birth of the Son of God?

Consider the following from Proverbs:

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will. [6]

Who was really in charge in Luke 2:1-7, Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, Joseph, Mary, or God? Why does it matter?

Who is Really in Charge? | Application

Regardless of one’s role in worldly affairs, the ultimate one who is in charge is God, the creator of Heaven and Earth.

Do some of us have the authority and knowledge to make decrees and instruct others on earth?


But how we conduct ourselves in these roles and who we acknowledge as our ultimate authority matters significantly more than our worldly status.

All other times in scripture, God appears in a role of ultimate authority. Yet here, the Son of God, both human and divine, appears as an infant in impoverished circumstances.

Describe what it means to you that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth as a baby. And not just any baby, but one born in poverty.

Consider Mary’s song recorded in Luke 1:46-55.

46 And Mary said,
       “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47        and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48    for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49    for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50    And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51    He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52    he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53    he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54    He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55    as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” [7]

Again, who is really in charge of the affairs of everything that happens in this world and beyond?

How does focusing on God’s authority over all things help you see your circumstances differently?

Is there anything you need to do today in response to God’s authority over all things?

Journey ends! Where afar
Bethlem shines, like a star,
stable door stands ajar.
Unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!

Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes!
Jesus comes!
We will make him welcome!

Long Ago, Prophets Knew


Barbara Lynn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 2:1.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 2:2.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 2:3.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 2:4–5.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 2:6–7.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Pr 21:1.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 1:46–55.

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