"Is There a Room Available?"
There is almost a week before Christmas Day when celebrations will take place. But the greatest celebration is when Jesus comes to live in you. At the time of his birth, the reason he was born in a manger was because there was no room in the inn.
Is There Room In Your Inn?
A. I heard on the radio that a GPS company had given several very small GPS transmitters to non-profits, especially churches. There had been a rash of people steeling Jesus from nativity scenes outside churches. With the GPS transmitters, the police have been able to track down many of the thieves and, according the story, there have been fewer thefts of baby Jesus. I don’t know why people would steel a figurine from a church nativity scene, but it made me wonder about the real birth story, about the real manger scene and what happened that night.
B. As I read about the prophesies of the birth of Jesus we read in the OT that God promised the Savior would be human, not angel; a Jew not a Gentile; that he would be from the tribe of Judah, from the family line of David, born in the city of David (Bethlehem) and born to a virgin. All of that was to come true. But no one, not even the scholars to King Herod would think that the Messiah would be born in a shelter made for animals and laid in a feeding trough.
C. People argue over exactly where Jesus was born. Some say it was a cave used to shelter animals, others say it was a stable area below a home used as a guest house, others say a barn. We know that he was not born in a nice sterile environment with extended family all around him in the comfort of a home. We know that God watched that night as Jesus came in the flesh to dwell among men. So let’s go back to that night.
I. The Inn
A. Because of the census Joseph was obligated to go to his family home, Bethlehem. While Joseph had taken Mary as his wife, Luke calls her “pledged” because they had not consummated their wedding and she would still be a virgin. By this time, Mary was at the end of her pregnancy and I am sure traveling was not fun or easy.
B. But what I find interesting is the statement that Luke tells us as to circumstances of the birth of Jesus. The fact that he was placed in a manger, or feeding trough is because “there was no room for them in the inn.”
C. Having traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem and about to deliver a baby the last place I would guess they desired for this birth to take place was among the stabled animals. Why a stable? Why a manger? Why no crib for a bed? Why would God send Jesus into the world to be born of lowly means? Why would God choose to let his son not even find a room at the inn? I believe I know the answer.
D. If that man only knew that his little inn would place such a big part in the story of birth of Christ, do you think he would have found some way to take them in? Maybe it is the story of missed opportunity that caused Jesus to be laid in a manger and not a crib.
E. I can see it happening, due to the census, this little town had no accommodations available for the many travelers. Maybe this innkeeper did the best he could and had pity on the man and the pregnant woman. But had he realized it was the Messiah, would have behaved even more kindly? But is that innkeeper any different than many today?
II. Your Inn
A. Jesus said that the reason he came was to “seek and save that which is lost.” Listen to Eph. 3:13-17a. Jesus wants to dwell in our hearts. The Hebrew writer warns his readers “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
B. There are many missed opportunities in life. We can miss the opportunity to do good to all men. We can miss the opportunity to help the hurting and walk by on the other side. We can miss the opportunity to encouraged those who struggle in their faith. And too many miss the opportunity to have Christ reign in hearts. For them, the story of the birth of Jesus is no different than the innkeeper, they simply have no room for Jesus in their life.
C. Before we become judgmental towards others, let us think about what it means to have Christ reign in me? For the baby did not come to rest in crib or a manger. He came to take up residence in our hearts. He came to be king of our life. He came to give us the direction we so desperately need because we have messed up so pitifully on our own. But do you want that much Jesus in your life?
D. Rom. 10:9-10. What does it mean to confess with our mouth “Jesus is Lord”? I know it is more than just offering the stables of our life instead of a room in the inn of our hearts.
E. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) Listen to Jesus speak as recorded in Luke 9:23-27. Lordship is not putting Jesus in your heart on Sunday and removing him from you life the rest of the week. It is not singing praises to his name and then cursing your neighbor. Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn. Is there room in the inn of your heart? Are you willing to let him come into your life and be both Lord and Christ? Lordship is so difficult for many to give to Jesus. Don’t let this Christmas story of his birth be a symbol of your hardness of heart to let the Savior in.
A. Wally was a 7th grade student who was bigger than any of the other students in his Sunday school class. His mother had been an alcoholic when he was born, and as a result, Wally just did not have all the mental capabilities that the rest of his classmates had. But somehow he managed to get by.
B. Christmas time came and his class decided to put on a Christmas pageant. Since he was the biggest, Wally was selected to be the innkeeper. After all, the innkeeper is kind of a villain in the Christmas drama. So they coached Wally to be just as mean as he possibly could be.
C. Well, the night came for the Christmas play. And in it, Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem, went to the Inn and knocked on its door. Wally opened the door and said, “What do you want?” just as mean and gruff as he could possibly be. Joseph said, “We need a room. We need a place to stay tonight.” “Well, you’ll have to stay someplace else,” said Wally, “because there’s no room here.”
Joseph said, “But my wife’s expecting a baby any time now. Isn’t there someplace where we can stay, where we are protected from the cold and where she can deliver her child?”
D. Then silence. Wally had forgotten his lines. From behind the curtains you could hear someone saying, “Be gone. Be gone.” Finally, Wally managed to say, “Be gone.” Mary and Joseph sadly turned to leave. But just as they did, Wally said, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You can have my room.”
E. Maybe Wally, better than anybody else communicated the real spirit of Christmas. “You can have my room.” I look around the stable and ask myself, would I give Jesus my room? Maybe the better question is, will I give Jesus my life? Jesus did not come to live in a stable; he did come to live in me. It may be Christmas time. There may be a nativity scene on your coffee table. But the question is where is Jesus? Don’t leaven him in a manger.
F. Confess him as Lord and believe in your heart. When confronted with their own sin, the Jews at Pentecost as Peter and the Apostles, “What shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized everyone you in the name of Jesus for the remission of your sins.” (Acts 2:38)
G. If you are ready to move Jesus from a manger to the inn of your heart, won’t you come as we stand and sing.