25 Dec 2009

When Life Gives You Taxes, Make the Savior of the World

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Merry Christmas! And as part of our ongoing series, “Why does God let bad things happen?” here we explain that if King Herod and Caesar had become Rothbardians, the Scriptures wouldn’t have been fulfilled.

The Jews in Jesus’ day were waiting for their Messiah, but the prophecies said he would come from Bethlehem. So you can understand Nathanael’s confusion when Philip tells him the good news:

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46″Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.

So the confusion here is that this guy Jesus is the son of a carpenter who grew up in Nazareth. Hence, he couldn’t possibly be the promised Messiah, since all educated Jews knew the Messiah was supposed to come from Bethlehem (from the line of King David).

Of course, the wrinkle is that Jesus really was born in a manger in Bethlehem–his earthly parents Mary and Joseph had to make the trek there for a census being conducted for tax purposes:

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

So when earthly rulers seek to rip off poor people, they unwittingly fulfill the Scriptures and allow the rise of the true King whose majesty renders them paupers. And later on, when earthly rulers have Him killed, they unwittingly fulfill the Scriptures yet again and allow Him to save the world.

You and I are dirty sinners, but the reason we should feel down is that we’re not doing what God wants. We don’t need to worry that we’re going to screw up His plans. He knew you were going to do that before you were even born. He’s disappointed, but don’t worry–He was ready for it. Good will still triumph, sometimes in spite of us.

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