Summary: This lesson talks about how Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room for him in the inn. Then compares that thought with our hearts as an inn and if we have room for Jesus in us.
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?