Summary: Why Bethlehem - it was God’s plan and arrangement – He set everything in motion for it to happen right there in that town, in those conditions – it was in God’s eyes a perfect birth for the King of Kings. It was not a mistake or bad luck on the part of Ma
Message: Hotel Bethlehem
Scripture Text: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 KJV).
It’s obvious from researching the times of the Bible that there was nothing close to a Holiday Inn in this time of History. The Inns of the day were more like some barns I have visited. These inns did not resemble the Hilton’s, the Ramada’s, the Country Inn and Suites we see around Orland. These inns were basic with no running water, no kitchenettes, no electricity, no indoor bathrooms, only nice dirty out houses and remember the inn rooms were no way near as clean as the Inns of today. They were basic rooms most likely with a mattress on a stone or a dirt floor or if lucky a mattress in a wood frame. By the way the mattresses were not like our poster-pedic mattresses of today either. They were lumpy, bumpy and not designed for helping people with bad backs. The Inn had no ice machines, pop machines, swimming pools, work out rooms, microwaves, frigs, tv’s or cable. No fireplaces in the nicely decorated lobby either! No continental breakfast buffets, or other goodies they were just a basic room with four walls and a roof.
People stayed in these inns for only two reasons: To get out of the elements of the weather, like rain and cold. They also went to Inns for protection from thieves and robbers. These bands of hoodlums roamed the countryside looking for people to rob especially during a time when the whole country was traveling for the sake of the census. So inns were not a luxury as they are today but a necessity while traveling.
Joseph and Mary as they entered Bethlehem came to an overcrowded back country town with Mary weary from the journey and ready to give birth to Jesus. They entered a place that looked more like the roughest slums of today rather than a place of comfort and rest and to their surprise they are turned away from the inns. Remember they would have looked at a Holiday Inn as a palace as a remarkable place of luxury. But no basic inn room for them was available and let’s be honest things looked rather gloomy. I pause a moment to remind you that Mary and Joseph are just like you and me, same needs, same physical limitations, same desire for a bed to sleep inn, same concern for their unborn baby. I want you to imagine their disappointment and feel their stress? Everything they had been through up to this point: The unplanned pregnancy, the supernatural conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, the rumors and gossip, the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Mary and the convincing of Joseph in a dream to stay with Mary, the long journey, the cold, the dodging of thieves, the very uncomfortable Mary right at her due date, they had been through a lot and had high stress levels and now no room for them in the inn.
So they know Jesus is coming and they know He is special! The angel told them so – the miracle of conception confirmed it. He is sent from God to save His people, He is a king from the royal line of David and he is the Savior of the World! They have been told by the angel how blessed they are! “Blessed are you!” – He said “But maybe their response was “Are you kidding!” God does not even allow them to have a simple room to let the baby be born in. Blessed -- so much that they get to stay in stinking – smelling stable? This is crazy! Blessed – I am sure they were a bit over whelmed and questioning the whole blessed idea.