Luke names the powers that rule the world because he is writing an orderly account for the most excellent Theophilus and though a physician by training he is an historian at heart. And so he grounds the story of salvation in the names and dates of human history. But Luke the theologian names the powers of the political and religious world to clothe the prophetic word in flesh and blood. The powers of empire and temple cannot hear it yet but the voice that cries in the wilderness will resound throughout the world of Jerusalem and Rome. The mountain of Tiberius and Pilate will be made low. The valley of Herod’s wickedness will be filled. The crooked path of Annas and Caiaphas will be made straight as the rough ways of empire and temple are made smooth. Of course history repeats itself and so we would do well to listen for the voice crying in our time for the salvation that all flesh will see is not clothed in the trappings of empire or church but in acts of justice, peace and mercy. And closer to home the good news is that when we hear the voice and see that salvation for ourselves the mountain of our pride is brought low, the valley of our fear and self loathing is filled, the crooked paths that have become well worn and familiar are made straight and all the rough ways that keep us from loving are made smooth. And that is good news indeed.