Summary: The second part of our Journey takes us into the town of Bethlehem, to the Inn and finally to the stable where Jesus was born.
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Pastor James May
Journey to Bethlehem Part 2
Luke 2:4-7, "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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."
In the first part of this journey we learned of the circumstances that led to Joseph and Mary having to take their long journey to Bethlehem. Caesar required that every man of Judea must return to his place of birth in order to be registered for the levying of taxes. So, Joseph made Mary as comfortable as he could and began the long journey up to Jerusalem and on to Bethlehem.
As they neared Bethlehem, they could already see that the small town was crowded beyond its normal population and as they began to seek lodging for their stay, they could find none. Every home was filled to overflowing with guests. They could find no place to stay with friends or old relatives. So they had to search out the inn and attempt to pay for a space where they could stay for a while.
This brings to mind the fact that Jesus is ever searching for a heart that will have room for Him. So many times I have seen the pictures that portray Jesus as he stands outside the door of man’s heart, knocking, but so many times there is no answer and there is no room for Him even if the door is opened slightly.
People have their hearts filled with cares of this life and have no room for the Giver of Life.
But Jesus never quits knocking. The love of God is ever reaching out, ever knocking, ever trying to find a place in our hearts where He may dwell and bring us peace and joy.
Opening the door to the inn, they found it filled beyond its capacity with loud, boisterous men and animals everywhere. 2000 years ago there were no Holiday Inns, Hampton Inns, or Hiltons. The inn was quite simple that Joseph and Mary looked into that night.
There was a bottom floor filled with sheep, donkeys, camels or most any kind of domesticated animal of their land. This was where the travelers kept their animals while they all slept in large open areas that were climbed into by ladder or stairways on floor that was raised so that the animals could not get into them.
Some of the better inns would have this area divided into rooms that could be shared while others had only a large open space where everyone stayed together. The travelers slept on the floor with hay piled up to soften the floor and a blanket spread upon which they would lay down to rest.
There was no room service, no indoor plumbing and it was a very crude setup but at least it was safe and better than sleeping on the streets.
This brings to mind that fact that when Jesus is looking for the heart that will open to Him, he never finds a heart that is clean and ready. When He enters that heart, He must cleanse it and make it a place where righteousness can dwell. He enters the heart and brings light where there was only darkness. He brings peace in the midst of trouble and joy and hope, where once only sorrow and despair reigned.
This story is so familiar to most of us that we could tell it without a preacher reminding us and yet I hear so often of our young people and children who have not been raised in church and know little or nothing of the birth of Jesus. They just don’t have a clue of the great miracles that surrounded the coming of the Lord to this earth in the form of a man.