The Innkeeper of Bethlehem

Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  9:41
0 ratings

The Bible does not mention an innkeeper nor a stable. Yet there is an important Christmas lesson to be learned from them.

The Innkeeper of Bethlehem "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." The innkeeper of Bethlehem has become one of the villains of Christmas. Oh, he was not as bad as King Herod. Herod was a really evil character. But the innkeeper has received a lot of bad press. He is usually not a very nice guy in the Christmas play. Have we been fair to this man? What do we know about the innkeeper? The Bible tells us very little. The innkeeper is not even mentioned. We know that Jesus was born in a stable only because He was laid in a manger. But we do know that He was born there because there was no room in the inn. Joseph must have checked about room. Someone must have told him there was no room. We call that person the innkeeper. But what was this inn? Public inns were nasty places in those days and likely had greedy innkeepers. But Bethlehem probably did not have a public inn. The word Luke uses for the inn is not the word used for a public hotel. There are two possibilities for the Bethlehem inn. It could have been a guest room attached to the home of a leading citizen of the town. It would be made available to travelers without charge. In this case, the innkeeper would be this leading citizen offering a public service. Or the inn could have been a guest room attached to the home of a well-to-do relative of Joseph that was made available to visiting family or friends. If so, the innkeeper was the family head offering hospitality to his people. The Roman census had created a busy, hectic time in David's hometown of Bethlehem. There were far more visitors than usual. The leading citizen or family head was overwhelmed with demand for help with a place to stay. Another traveler, or perhaps several, had already been given the limited quality space. At least he made room in the stable. The innkeeper could not have known what we know: We know that God had sent His Son to become a man. We know that the expected baby was fully God as well as fully man. We know that Mary's baby was the promised Messiah. We know that Jesus had come to bear the guilt of all our sins. We know that Jesus would die as our substitute. We know that Jesus would rise again conquering both sin and death. We know that Jesus will one day reign on the throne of David. We know that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Perhaps if he had known, he would have done more. Perhaps he would have put Mary in his own bed and slept in the stable. Perhaps, but he did not know. What about us? The innkeeper did not know, but we know. We know who Jesus was and who Jesus is. We know that Jesus is the Son of God, our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer, our hope. We know all that Jesus has done for us. So, do we put Jesus in a stable? Why would anyone do so today? Consider hosting ordinary visitors. A house guest disrupts our schedule and normal activities even when they are welcome. We usually prefer that even beloved company stay only a few days. We are ready to get back to normal. Having Jesus in our daily lives is sure to disrupt our lifestyle. When we invite Jesus into the home of our lives, we are allowing Him to set the agenda and to change our lives. Putting Him in a stable allows us to live as we wish in our home. Into what kind of stables do we put Jesus? Church attendance can be used as a stable. Many give Jesus one hour, or maybe two, each week. The rest of the week is kept for themselves. That is putting Jesus in a stable. Or our words can be used as a stable. Many speak of Jesus as their Savior and may even refer to Him as Lord. However, they do not allow Him to rule their lives as Lord. They do not allow Him to save them from their sin. They are placing Him in a stable of their words. Jesus was willing to be born in a stable, but will He still submit to being put in our stables? The church of Laodicea tried it as recorded in Revelation 3:14-20. Jesus said to them: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other." They were satisfied with their own way of life, blind to their sin and needs. They were trying to be Christians without allowing Christ in their inner lives, the home of their souls. Jesus refused to live in their stable. He says, "So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Literally, He said that He was about to vomit them out. He will not put up with their stable. He calls on them to hear His rebuke and to repent. He wants to disrupt their selfish schedule and sinful routines. Jesus wanted to live with them in their home, not in their stable. He says to them: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus was asking to come in and permanently fellowship with them, dominating their lives, not just for an hour or two a week, not just in their religious words. Jesus wanted to live in them and to change them. Jesus wants to live in you and fellowship with you, in your home and not in a stable. Jesus wants to disrupt your lifestyle. He died to free you from your sins. As the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:20-21: "Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Jesus wants to save us from our sins. Where is Jesus in your life? Do you try to keep Him in a stable, available for emergencies but out of your way for daily living? Or have you invited Jesus in to fellowship with you always, taking charge of your life, disrupting the old ways, and recreating you as a new person? Jesus no longer accepts the stable! Welcome Him into your inner life, the home of your soul.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more