SCRIPTURE: LUKE 2:1-7 (Key Verse #7)
TITLE/SUBJECT: MAKING ROOM FOR JESUS
PURPOSE: To stress the importance of making room for Jesus in the stables of our hearts.
(READ LUKE 2:1-7)
ILLUS: Have you ever been traveling late at night and, upon finally deciding to turn in, found the motels had turned on their "No Vacancy" signs? "No Vacancy" signs have been an all too familiar part of my traveling routine in my earlier years. I would drive into the night, trying to make as much time as I could. I often set mileage goals and would keep going until I would reach the goals. Then, feeling that my dayís travel had been an accomplishment, I could turn in for a good nightís sleep. So, many a night, I have personally encountered all too many "No Vacancy" signs.
Little did that innkeeper, nearly 2,000 years ago, realize that he had turned away the worldís most distinguishing couple, missing out on the honor of being the place of historyís most important event, - the birth of Christ!
In reality, though, it was really OK. The innkeeper didnít have the slightest idea as to how important that couple was. He had no computer reservation system, as they do today, by which he could have held a space for them. It was a "first-come, first-save" basis. The inn was full. So Joseph and Mary simply had to move on Ė to a stable. Thatís OK. You see, it was all a part of Godís plan. He was completely with them. He had it all worked out. Many things happen that we donít understand. Often, God is simply trying to get our attention so that He can work out His best for whatever it is. In todayís Scripture, it was God the Fatherís will that:
JESUSí EARTHLY JOURNAL SHOULD HAVE A HUMBLE BEGINNING.
Caesar Augustus had issued a decree (a legal order) that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. Note that God is Lord of all! He is Lord of history, as well as everything else! So here we see Him working through the emperor, in far-away Rome, or setting the stage, for fulfilling prophecy, in the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. So, the census would be taken. The whole land of Palestine was to be taxed. It included Galilee, where Joseph and Mary lived.
The Romans would register themselves where they lived. However, it was the Jewish custom that each person should go to his ancestral city, or to his "home would be, today, in such a mobile society as we live in?) Joseph, in keeping with this customary decree, -town." (Can you imagine what a mess that went to Bethlehem, otherwise known as the City of David, since David was born there, and Joseph was of the family line of David.
Legally, Mary didnít have to go with him. ILLUS: But, husbands and wives normally do go places and share experiences together. Many husbands and wives rarely go anywhere separately. Mary probably went due to:
Her love for Joseph;
Her love for Bethlehem;
Her desire to have Joseph with her at the birth of her son, and, most important of all;
The leading of the Holy Spirit! We need to be sensitive to His leading in our own hearts and lives. How much do we miss by not being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit at work in our own hearts and lives?
The prophecy given to Micah hundreds of years previously reads, "But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me One Who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2 NIV).
So, in keeping with prophecy, Mary went with Joseph. It was God the Fatherís will that:
JESUSí EARTHLY JOURNEY SHOULD BEGIN WITH A HUMBLE BIRTH Ė VSS 6-7.
The Biblical account, itself, of Jesusí birthday is very simple and to the point. We read, "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" (VSS 6-7).
No, that innkeeper didnít make room for them. None of the guests gave up their rooms for them, either. They simply didnít know the significance of that couple and of that night and that baby, and none of us would have, either.
Certainly they were all expecting the Messiah to come Ė sometime. But they certainly didnít expect Him to come that night. They certainly didnít expect Him to come on that night, to that inn, in that way. Weíre expecting Him to come back in our day, too, arenít we? Are we going to be close enough to recognize Him when He comes again?
ILLUS: Someone has said, "They were looking for a king, to slay their foes and lift them high; THOU camíst, a baby thing that made a woman cry" (George McDonald).
But today we know the significance of that couple and of that night and of that Baby! We know that He was, and IS, the Redeemer of the world! We know that He is Lord, and Savior, and Coming King!
We know of His Words, His miracles. We know of His love. We know of His death on the Cross. We know of His promise to return!
Yes, we know all of these things. Yet, millions have no time for Him, - no use for him, - no room for Him in their hearts and lives. Their "No Vacancy" signs are on Ė and some donít even care enough to even say, "Iím sorry!"
There are some who are not that callused, that final, in their rejection. Many have no ill words toward Christ. They think beautiful thoughts about Him. They even go to church occasionally and drop something into the collection place, or in the Salvation Army kettles at Christmas-time. But their minds and their hearts and their lives are saying, "Sorry, No Vacancy!"
Their minds are so full of secular thoughts or sensual or scientific thoughts that there is simply no room for Christ, - His insights, - His ideals, - His offers, - and His demands. Their lives are so full of things, - things of school, of business, of promotion or position or prestige; - of pleasures and people and possessions, - and they simply have no room for Jesus Christ and the joy and fulfillment that only He can bring.
However, thank God, there are those whose minds and hearts and lives are not so crowded and cluttered, who have gladly made room for Christ.
That Christ, Who on the night of His birth, found no room at the inn, and Who during His lifetime on earth found no room in the hearts of His own people, - that Christ still finds no room in the lives and homes of millions around the world.
The Bible says, "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. But," then and now, "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).
That same Christ is now standing at your heartís door. He is knocking and saying, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man (man, woman, boy or girl) hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into Him, and will sup with him and he with Me (Rev. 3:20 KJV).
Unlike the innkeeper of long ago, you know Who Jesus is. You have heard Him knocking for a long time!
Have you let Him in, or
Is your "No Vacancy" sing still hanging out?
Are the rooms of your heart too preoccupied with too many other things to let Him have the finest place that He deserves? Christians can crowd Jesus out by being too preoccupied.
Let this Christmas season be the time when you finally take that "No Vacancy" sign down, wonít you? And leave it down, wonít you? He doesnít want just a little corner of our hearts. He wants our all! So, why not pray right now, where youíre at, and truly give Him your all?!!!
Since April 17, 2003
Since April 17, 2003